Cedar Leads Indigenous All Stars to Victory
The Apunipima Australian Indigenous national representative team has won a 4th straight Trans Tasman Basketball Series over the New Zealand Maori National Team 2 games to 1.
The Australian team was lead from the front by McDonalds Meteors captain Chris Cedar, who was named captain of the team before the series. The 3 games were played on the North Island of New Zealand in Te Awamutu and Tauranga.
Their was a distinct Mackay flavour around the side with Cedar alongside former Meteors Deba George and TJ Diop, while General Manager Jason Borg was assistant coach.
A last second lay-up by big man Chris Patton secured a thrilling 82-81 opening game victory for the All Stars in Te Awamutu.
The visitors backed up the next night with another clutch performance, this time the hero was rising star William Hickey, who made a basket as time expired to hand the All Stars a 89-88 triumph in Tauranga.
The Maori representative team regrouped for game 3 to avoid a whitewash prevailing 104-77.
Former Meteors QBL champ Deba George stood tall for the All Stars. The 32 year old Torres Strait Islander native dropped 22 points in the opening game before compiling 24 in game 2
Chris Cedar also exhibited his class posting an efficient 16 point outing in Te Awamutu to keep his side in the contest and use his vast experience guiding the team.
First time All Star Chris Patton was dominant in the paint throughout the series. The 208cm centre finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds in Game 1, before tallying 23 points and 8 rebounds in the second bout.
Former Meteors Head Coach and All Stars mentor Joel Khalu, was thrilled with his sides retention of the Trans-Tasman trophy. "We definitely faced some adversity and to the players credit, they battled away making the big plays when we needed them."
With the Trans-Tasman cup staying in Australia for another 12 months, the All Stars will shift their focus to the 2019 World Indigenous Basketball Championships that will take place in New Zealand next March.