Ella Bradley is one of the most accomplished age group basketball players in the country.
The year 12 student at St Peter’s Cambridge was recently named in the tournament team at the National Under-19 championships having been selected in the same squad at the National Secondary Schools Championships in 2017.
A two-time National Secondary Schools gold medalist, Bradley is a member of the New Zealand Under-17 squad, but remarkably isn't the most accomplished player on her team.
Bradley is a pivotal teammate of Tall Fern Charlisse Leger-Walker, perhaps the most dominant age group talent New Zealand has seen since Steven Adams. How do the two girls work together?
“Charlisse has taught me a lot and I hope I have taught her some things too. We just try and feed off each other and when she’s not open, I try to step up,” Bradley answers.
The daughter of two Cambridge accountants, Bradley started playing basketball four years ago and earned Waikato representative selection in her first season.
At St Peter's, Bradley has flourished under the guidance of another Walker. Leanne Walker (mother of Charlisse) is a former Tall Fern and the coach of the St Peter’s First V. A strong culture has been built over the course of many seasons.
“There's a lot of work that goes in off the court as well as on it. We have at least two ‘live in’s a year which don't involve much basketball at all, but are all about bonding. All the girls get on and we love playing together,” Bradley acclaims.
St Peter’s are unbeaten in 2018 having narrowly lost the National final to St Mary’s College, Wellington last October. What do St Peter's have to do to go one step better this year?
“It was a close game that could have gone either way. I don't think we would have done much differently,” Bradley reflects.
“We have three Year 13s and four year 12s this year so I guess we have more experience,” she continued.
Waikato retained their National U19 title recently, comfortably beating Harbour in the final, surging to a 60-35 lead at three-quarter time and prevailing 81-54.Bradley contributed 15 points.
In July, Bradley will experience a new country when she travels to Belarus for the FIBA World Under-17 championships.
New Zealand finished fourth at the FIBA Asian Championship in India last October to clinch a spot at the World Cup. The tournament will be a historic occasion as it is the first FIBA age-group World Cup ever attended by a New Zealand Women’s team.
The tournament will open on 21 July with New Zealand scheduled to play Spain in Minsk on that day.
New Zealand are drawn in Group C and will also play Americas bronze medalists Argentina and European Championship runners-up Hungary in pool play. Bradley insists New Zealand is not present to make up the numbers.
“Our goal is to get out of pool play and see what happens from there. A lot of the girls have played together before and we've got good coaches and players,” Bradley warns.
The Australians are the reigning champions with the USA having won the first three World Cup’s.
In addition to basketball, Bradley is a representative standard goal attack in netball she plays for the Fraser Tech club in Hamilton.
Aon New Zealand U17 Team:
Both the Waitaha Canterbury Men’s and Waikato Women’s teams successfully defended their Aon Under 19 National Basketball Championship titles at North Shore Events Centre on Tuesday.
Charlisse Leger-Walker came close to a triple-double (36 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists) as Waikato ran out comfortable 81-54 winners against Harbour in the women’s final.
Max Darling was at his dominant best (27 points and 12 rebounds) as Waitaha Canterbury Red subdued the Manawatu challenge to win the Men’s Championship in equally convincing fashion 104-77.
Aon Under 19 Men’s National Championship Final
A pair of Max Darling dunks highlighted an 18-7 Waitaha Canterbury Red start against Manawatu.
Matt O’Connell and Jake McKinlay each made a couple of scores for Manawatu but it was still a healthy 34-18 quarter time lead to the Cantabs.
Jacob Collis and Oscar Oswald three’s opened the second quarter scoring but Tom Higgins replied in identical fashion as the Canterbury lead approached twenty points (45-26).
Darling, the Tournament MVP, helped himself to more inside points and although the scoring slowed Kurt Feneon and Max de Geest were still able to make scoring contributions. O’Connell (11 points in the half) made a three as time expired in the half but Manawatu still trailed 53-35 at the interval. Darling led all scorers with 19 points at half-time.
Oswald kick started second half proceedings before de Geest made his fourth three of the game – he finished with 5 triples from10 attempts.
O’Connell’s penetrative play reduced the arrears (64-48) but a pair of transition baskets from Connor McLaughlin pushed the lead back beyond twenty points and necessitated a timeout from Manawatu coach Miles Pearce.
Nic Wenmoth (9 points in the quarter) extended the lead further – Canterbury with one hand on the trophy at three-quarter-time leading 83-56.
The industrious Scott Lachlan and the outstanding O’Connell (26 points) added to the Manawatu points tally but the Canterbury lead was never compromised as they completed a successful title defence.
“We came out pretty tough, coach Mark Dickel had us fired up for the game, we put it on hard from the start and pretty much kept it on all game,” said shooting guard de Geest.
“I got a real good start,” said Darling referring to his early dunks. “We were hitting which we haven’t always done – making decent shots which really helped us out,” he added.
“This squad hasn’t been together for too long but we all like each other and get along well and I think that really shows on the court,” added de Geest.
The pair made a combined fourty-nine points and both were named in the Men’s Tournament Team alongside teammate Tom Higgins.
Waitaha Canterbury Red 104 – M Darling 27, M de Geest 22, N Wenmoth 15, T Higgins 12, C McLaughlin 10
Manawatu 77 – O’Connell 26, O Oswald 12, J McKinlay 10, J Collis 8
Referees – Tayla Ammunson and Duran Whiu
Wellington 92 – A Tai-Jones 22, F McClure 17, M Kapua 13, K Salmon 12
Harbour 83 – S Mennenga 24, T Cowie 22, 9 J Burton 9
U19 Men’s Tournament Team
Joseph Ahie (Wellington)
Max de Geest (Canterbury)
Tom Higgins (Canterbury)
Jake McKinlay (Manawatu)
Sam Mennenga (Harbour)
Oscar Oswald (Manawatu)
Kruz Perrott-Hunt (Harbour)
Anzac Rissetto (Auckland)
Maxim Stephens (Waikato
MVP Max Darling (Canterbury
Aon Under 19 Women’s National Championship Final
A complete all-game performance from Tall Ferns guard Charlisse Leger-Walker highlighted Waikato Women’s resounding 81-54 victory against Harbour. The Commonwealth Games silver medalist finished with 36 points (5/8 3PG), 10 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals.
Predictably it was Leger-Walker, the Tournament MVP, that opened the scoring and she moved quickly to ten points as Waikato led 23-16 at quarter time.
Riva Walker-Pitman took Waikato into a double-figure lead (28-18), seven straight points from Tayla Dalton keeping Harbour in the hunt.
Jordyn Maddix converted an And-1 play but Leger-Walker, 20 points (9/15FG) in the half, had the final say before the interval to give Waikato a 36-29 lead.
The games leading scorers Dalton and Leger-Walker exchanged baskets to open the second half before Koha Lewis and Kasee Leef once again took the Waikato lead into double-digits - the advantage 51-35 at the mid point of the third quarter.
A long Ella Bradley two extended the Waikato lead into the twenties forcing a Harbour timeout. The break in play bore little fruit as Waikato powered to a 60-35 three-quarter time lead.
Keeley Tini and Rashaan Smith posted fourth quarter points for Harbour but it was of little consequence as Waikato coasted to victory – their fifth Under 19 title in the past nine years.
Leger-Walker was delighted with another national title.
“It was a satisfying win because Harbour were one of the better teams at the tournament but we got a roll on early – it felt even despite it being a big margin at the end.
“The core group of the team have been together about six years now so we feel comfortable together. It’s always nice coming back together to come to Nationals.
Despite having played at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games just a few weeks ago the youngest ever Tall Fern had little trouble adjusting back to age-group basketball.
“I love coming back to play with the girls of my own age group and getting back to the home environment, it’s always fun to play with this team," she said.
Waikato 81 – C Leger-Walker 36, E Bradley 15, A Williams-McKay 10, K Lewis 6
Harbour 54 – T Dalton 17, R Smith 11, J Maddix 9, K Tini 6
Referees – Rhys Hamilton and Brad Clive
Waitaha Canterbury Red 74 – A Book 18, L Hippolite 16, T Nisbett 16, S Kennedy 10
Taranaki 67 – R Samia 15, I Cook 13, K Jones 11, S Cook 8
U19 Women’s Tournament Team
Ella Bradley (Waikato)
Isabelle Cook (Taranaki)
Tayla Dalton (Harbour)
Lauryn Hippolite (Canterbury)
Mele Latu (Waitakere West)
Jordyn Maddix (Harbour)
Leah Mafua (Wellington)
Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties)
MVP – Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato)
“I’ve been in the league for five years and guys like Matt Freeman, Tai Wynyard and Sam Waardenburg have been a really positive influence. They lifted the standard and made it more competitive. They have given everyone else more to aspire to,” Kruz Perrott-Hunt acclaims.
The Rosmini College guard is hoping to join the aforementioned names in the US on scholarship next year and has made a good start to 2018 in pursuit of that goal.
After four rounds of the wildly unpredictable Auckland Premiership basketball competition, Rosmini is the only unbeaten side and Perrott-Hutt has averaged 24 points per game.
At last year’s National Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North, Perrott-Hutt was selected in the tournament team as Rosmini claimed the title.
It would appear to be business as usual for the North Shore juggernaut?
“Were a very different team to last year. We’ve lost three of our ‘bigs’ which means we’ve really focussed on our fitness to become a fast moving and shooting team,” Perrott-Hunt reveals.
“We went to a pre-season camp in Tauranga and started training at midnight on a Friday. That was hell,” he continued laughing wryly.
On Friday, Rosmini met their fierce local rivals Westlake Boys’ High School for the first time this season. Initially the lessons of Tauranga appeared to be forgotten as Westlake jumped to a 30-17 lead after the first quarter.
“Our goal was restrict the scoring of Sam Mennenga and Tom Cowie, but we didn’t do that. If you look at the stat line they both scored 30 plus points,” Perrott-Hunt complains.
However Perrott-Hunt dominated the opening moments of the second period, nailing eight straight points, as Rosmini closed to within seven points. Kainoa Lepoa then nailed four consecutive triples as Rosmini surged ahead 54-45 at halftime.
In the second-half Rosmini led by as many as 17 points eventually winning 103-93, Perrott-Hunt finished with 21 points.
“It was a typical Westlake versus Rosmini match. Every possession was hard fought. I’m proud of the way the boys hung in at the start and got a run going later,” Perrott-Hunt enthused.
Rosmini’s 110-59 blowout win against National final opponents Rangitoto College was anything but normal. Rangitoto are winless after four games.
“They won’t be down for long. They have too many good players in their team,” Perrott-Hunt warns.
“When we played them our hustle and execution was great from the outset and I guess they were a little shell-shocked. It was one of those games where everything went right for us,” Perrott-Hunt elaborated.
Perrott-Hunt ended with a game high 31 points, but his best effort this season is 34 points in a 108-77 mauling against Avondale College.
In addition to Rosmini, Perrott-Hunt is a North Harbour and New Zealand Under-19 representative. This weekend the National Under-19 competition is being staged in Auckland and North Harbour’s goal is to win the title. In 2017, North Harbour bombed finishing in 13th place.
“We’ve got a good team with the likes of Ethan Mandeno, Sam Mennenga and Tom Cowie. We're definitely going into it with a mindset to win. A lot of the systems we play are the same as we use at Rosmini so personally that makes the transition into the reps a little easier,” Perrott-Hunt says.
North Harbour is grouped with Wellington, Taranaki and Tauranga. The final is played on Queen’s Birthday Monday.
A strong showing at Nationals will enhance selection prospects for the Junior Tall Blacks. Perrott-Hunt is a member of the New Zealand Under-19 wider training squad.
In August the Junior Tall Blacks are bound for the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships in Thailand. The top four teams will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Championships.
The Junior Tall Blacks competed at the biannual World’s for the first time in 2017 after a maiden victory over Australia at the 2016 FIBA Oceania Under-18 Championship.
Elsewhere in Round four of the Auckland Premiership, Mount Albert Grammar School heaped more misery upon struggling Avondale College trouncing the bottom placed school 85-43. Auckland Grammar School beat Rangitoto College 84-74 while St Kentigern College thrashed St Peter’s College 92-61. Zach Chan hit eight three pointers for St Kent’s. The explosion of three point shooting is a major and recent change in the sport.
“I think it’s great. It means big guys have to be more versatile and not just rely on dominating the key,” Perrott-Hunt observers.
Perrott-Hunt is from an accomplished basketball family. His mother Angela coached the New Zealand U16 girls while his sister Georgia was on scholarship at the University of North Dakota.
Four young New Zealand players have been selected to participate in the 10th Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia camp hosted by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The camp will be held in Greater Noida, India from 30 May to 2 June, 2018 and will assemble the top players from across the Asian continent. The players selected are:
· Samuel Jenkins – Canterbury / St Andrew’s College
· Taine Murray – North Harbour / Rosmini College
· Ezekiel Stallworth – Wellington / Scots College
· Mac Stodart – Southland / James Hargest College/St Andrew’s College
Basketball without Borders Asia is an elite basketball skills camp that draws together the top players aged 17 and under from throughout the Asia-Pacific region to learn directly from NBA and FIBA players, legends and coaches, to compete against the best young players from the region. New Zealand players were individually selected by FIBA and the NBA based on their outstanding basketball skills and leadership abilities. Basketball without Borders Asia 2018 will be a unique opportunity for each player to improve his basketball talents and get to know other basketball players of the same age from the region.
Coaches attending will include Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder; U.S.), Caris LeVert (Brooklyn Nets; U.S.), Kelly Olynyk (Miami Heat; Canada; BWB Americas 2009), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks; Canada), two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman.
Players and coaches will lead the campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication. One boy and one girl will be named BWB Asia 2018 MVPs at the conclusion of the four-day camp.
Basketball New Zealand High Performance General Manager Leonard King believes the international exposure the four players will experience will be hugely beneficial for their future development.
“The 2018 Basketball Without Borders Asia camp will be an amazing experience for these young talented players, as they will have an opportunity to train alongside some of Asia’s best Junior players.
“Basketball New Zealand would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the players selected to attend the BWB Asia camp, this is a fitting reward for the hard work they have invested in their game.
“It will be an experience of a lifetime, learning from some of the best minds in the game, being exposed to different styles of play and coaching techniques, and competing against some of the best juniors in the world,” King added.
Taine Murray, probably echoing the sentiments of all four players, agreed that this is a major step in his basketball goals.
"I'm really excited to be selected for Basketball Without Borders. It will be an honour to represent New Zealand at such a prestigious camp.
“I'm looking forward to travelling to India and sharing the experience with the other three New Zealand players in my age group. Competing and training with players from different countries and learning from coaches from all around the world is an incredible opportunity.
“I want to thank my coaches and people who have supported me throughout my development to date. I also would like to acknowledge BBNZ and North Harbour Basketball for their support," said Murray.
Jenkins, Murray and Stodart were all members of the New Zealand Under 16 Boys team, coached by Zico Coronel, that finished fourth at the Australian State Championship in Perth last year.
Coronel is delighted with the progress the players have made in the last twelve months.
“All three are great young men and deserving of any opportunity that comes their way, they will be excellent ambassadors for New Zealand at the camp. As a coach I am proud to have worked alongside them.”
New Zealand players to have attended the Basketball Without Borders Asia camp before include Sam Waardenburg, Quinn Clinton, and Callum McRae.
A strong performance at the Asia Camp can lead to selection to the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp as happened for Clinton and Waardenburg last year.
The growing appetite for basketball at St Peter’s College is palpable.
“It’s crazy. If you walk around the school at lunchtime everyone is playing basketball - rugby players, hockey players and even the chess boys,” Whititera Parata enthuses.
It hasn’t always been that way at the Auckland catholic school. In fact Parata, a member of the First V since Year 9, often played three games a week to prop up other sides.
St Peter’s are no longer standing on wobbly ground. Competing in the Premier division for the first time, St Peter’s have toppled national powerhouses Rangitoto College and Auckland Grammar School in the space of three days.
On Friday, St Peter’s tamed reigning Auckland champions and 2017 National runners-up Rangitoto College 80-60. Two days later neighbours Auckland Grammar School were pipped 75-72. Grammar won the Auckland round-robin last year.
“We honestly have no clue. In basketball you can’t be perfect, but we didn’t execute anything and totally underperformed,” Parata rues when reflecting on Premier qualifying 12 months ago.
St Peter’s expected to make the top flight, but bombed again which was a familiar story.
“It’s been a long journey to the Premiers. I remember in 2014 we lost to Onehunga High School by two points to miss out, but last year was definitely the hardest loss to take because we had the team to be in the top grade,” Parata complains.
St Peter’s breezed through the second division dropping just a solitary game and scoring a record number of points in winning the final against Avondale College. A change in the qualifying system meant St Peter’s were automatically in the top eight in 2018.
St Peter’s proved their Premier credentials on May 18 when they overpowered Rangitoto. St Peter’s led 43-26 at halftime and grew their margin by fulltime with skipper Parata top scoring with 23 points, including 10 in the final quarter.
“It was special to get that first win especially after the Westlake loss where we didn’t play very well. We are collective team. We have no stars, but hustle for every loose ball and encourage guys to take open shots,” Parata observes.
Parata (a 6 ft 5, 110 kg power forward) was more subdued against Auckland Grammar School. Hampered by illness he only scored nine points, but a combined 47 points from Phoenix Leupolu (27) and Luke Buckingham (20) lifted St Peter’s to a memorable win.
“It was wonderful. Grammar had beaten Westlake so we had to fight the whole game to come out on top. It was close at halftime, but we managed to open up a large lead in the third quarter. Predictably Grammar came back, but we kept our composure,” Parata acclaims.
St Peter’s are being coached by Leyton Haddleton and Ray Thompson. The experienced duo are working wonders.
“We are training four times a week with two strength and conditioning sessions in the morning. I couldn’t play four quarters last year, but now I find it fairly easy. Fitness is a big part of our success. We are a team that can’t switch off,” Parata reveals.
In addition to basketball the cheerful Parata has competed in Kapa Haka, Polyfest and holds down a part time job at Burger Fuel.
St Peter’s have little time to rest on their laurels. This Friday they face Saint Kentigern College who beat Westlake Boys’ High School in the third round 94-84 on the back of 32 points from Max Shorter.
Elsewhere in Round 3, Rangitoto slumped to their third consecutive defeat when they were beaten 88-74 by Mount Albert Grammar School.
National champions Rosmini College are the only unbeaten school after thrashing Avondale College 108-77. New Zealand U17 guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt top scored with 34 points and is averaging well over 20 points per game.
The Aon New Zealand Men’s team has been named ahead of the FIBA Under 17 World Cup, to be played in Rasario and Santa Fe, Argentina from 30 June.
The squad shows four changes from the team that finished third at the FIBA Asia Championship in China last month to clinch a spot at the World Cup. Into the line-up comes Auckland centre Anzac Rissetto, Wellington guard Ezrah Vaiagfa and the Canterbury duo of Sam Jenkins and Mac Stoddard.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz is delighted to have finalised the team after the recent selection camp in Rotorua, attended by 20 athletes.
“We added some new concepts that all the players had to deal with, therefore giving the new players coming into camp an equal opportunity. I wanted to make the process as fair possible.
“The selection of the final squad wasn’t easy, but eventually we settled on the four additions.
“Tall Blacks Head Coach Paul Henare and a couple of other coaches with experience attending major tournaments recommended we take three point guards to Argentina. With that in mind, we selected Ezrah to compliment Tom Cowie and Marvin Williams-Dunn in that position.
“Sam Jenkins shot the ball really well and also picked up the new concepts quickly. Both Anzac Rissetto and Mac Stoddard give us some added size. Mac could play as a stretch four or perhaps even a stretch five.
“The team is the first Under 17 men’s group to attend a World Cup, so it is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved to play against the other best players in the world.
“It’s also exciting on a personal note to test yourself against the best teams and coaches in the world at this age group. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Bublitz added.
Bublitz and the team will assemble in just over a month’s time on 22 June. They will then head to Buenos Aires for three warm up games.
The tournament will open on 30 June with New Zealand scheduled to play the opening game of the tournament on that day against Egypt in Rosario. New Zealand is drawn in Group C, and will also play Canada and Montenegro in pool play.
Asian champions Australia are in Group A with Puerto Rico, Turkey and Dominican Republic. Defending champions USA headline Group B alongside China, Mali and Serbia. Group D contains hosts Argentina plus Croatia, France and the Philippines.
New Zealand U17 Team:
Shalom Broughton Tauranga Basketball
Tom Cowie North Harbour Basketball / Southland prior to 2018
Mitchell Dance North Harbour basketball
Haven Dixon Wellington Basketball
Sam Jenkins Canterbury Basketball
Kainoa Lepou Auckland Basketball Services ltd
Jake McKinley Manawatu Basketball
Harry Payne West Waitakere Basketball
Anzac Rissetto Auckland Basketball services ltd
Mac Stoddard Canterbury Basketball / Southland prior to 2018
Ezrah Vaiagfa Wellington Basketball
Marvin Williams-Dunn Auckland Basketball Services ltd
Head Coach: David Bublitz
Assistant Coach: Douglas Courtney
Assistant Coach: Aaron Young
Physiotherapist: Todd Wolff
Manager: Delwyn Whale
In his last three years at James Hargest College, Tom Cowie didn’t lose a single match in the local premier basketball competition and debuted for the Southland Sharks in the NBL. The Sharks are the last side to have beaten twice reigning champions the Wellington Saints.
Cowie is at Westlake Boys’ High School in 2018. Why has Cowie switched from Invercargill to Auckland?
“Kevin Braswell moved to Invercargill in 2014 and has been a real good mentor. Kevin helped me get a place in the Breakers Academy which opens up pathways for me that don’t exist in Invercargill,” Cowie responds.
“I have moved for sporting and academic reasons. I wanted a greater challenge and have enjoyed everything about Auckland so far,” he continued.
Interestingly Breakers coach Paul Henare was the Sharks mentor when they last won the NBL in 2015.
Westlake last won the National Secondary Schools title in 2013, but with Cowie on the roster they have a player of obvious pedigree.
Cowie was a starting point guard for the New Zealand Under-17’s who recently qualified for the World Championships for the first time by finishing third at the FIBA Asian Championships in China.
Cowie averaged 10.7 points and 2.8 assists a game, but saved his best performance for the Iran match which New Zealand had to win to make it to Argentina in June. Cowie piled on 17 points and five assists in a 73-69 win.
“We were the underdogs in the Iran game, but everybody played their roll well,” Cowie acclaims.
How does Cowie see his role?
“My job is to run a team. I need to organise the offense with smart plays. I also like to be aggressive and play my part making stops,” Cowie asserts.
The confidence to be an assertive leader will be vital for Westlake who won their opening match in the Auckland Premiership 69-51 against St Peter’s College last Friday, but face stern assignments in the next fortnight against 2017 round-robin winners Auckland Grammar School and National championships Rosmini College. Rosmini beat Rangitoto College, last year’s National runners up, 110-59 less than a week ago.
“The Auckland competition is a massive step up, but I’m really enjoying the challenge of pushing myself and think we have the team to be successful,” Cowie says.
Josh Koiman was Westlake’s top scorer against St Peter’s with 16 points.
The FIBA Under-17 World Championships run from June 30 to July 8 meaning Cowie will miss a portion of the Auckland Premiership. Cowie is confident Westlake has the depth to coupe in his absence.
“One of the reasons I come to Auckland was to test myself against better players. It’s good to be pushed all the time,” Cowie explains.
The USA have won all four Under-17 World Championships and has never lost in 30 matches at the tournament which features 16 teams. New Zealand is grouped with Canada, Egypt and Serbia and Montenegro who all finished second in their respective qualifying tournaments.
Interestingly Bradley Beal, an NBA All-Star with the Washington Wizards, was tournament MVP at the maiden tourney in 2010.
Basketball is underway around the country as winter sports kick into gear. The 2017 National finalists Rosmini College and Rangitoto College have already played once and the result was significant. Here are some individuals to watch from around the nation.
Jake McKinlay, Callum McRae and Oscar Oswald (all Palmerston North Boys’ High School) quickly graduating to starters in the Manawatu Jets is proof of Palmerston North’s strength in recent seasons. McKinlay is another lad from Palmerston North BHS on the Jets roster. A member of the NZ U17’s squad, McKinlay is a rangy and skilful presence who will be guarded closely.
Mitchell Dance (Rosmini College) - Dance wasn’t even supposed to go to the Nationals last year after injuring his ankle in Rosmini’s Zone I success. However the New Zealand U17 guard is made of tough stuff and showed his exceptional quality by winning National MVP as Rosmini won the title for the first time since 2011. Dance top scored for his team in the final collecting 26 points and 10 rebounds. Dance toured China with the NZ Under-17’s recently helping New Zealand gain a place at the World Championships. Dance well be will supported by his New Zealand Under-17 teammate Kruz Perrott-Hunt who is quick across the floor and boasts superior passing skills. On Friday night in Rosmini’s first meeting against National runners-up Rangitoto College, Perrott-Hunt scored 31 points.
Ethan Mandeno (Rangitoto College) -Rangitoto had just one survivor from the 2017 Grand Final when they played their opponent in that fixture against Rosmini College for the first time on Friday night. Rosmini scored a commanding 110-59 victory, but loan survivor Mandeno did manage 25 points and is shaping as a key figure for a rebuilding Rangitoto. Mandeno will soon be rejoined by New Zealand U17 representative Logan McIntosh who was a Nationals tournament team selection last year. Rangitoto have been to the last three National finals, winning twice and it’s only May.
Ezrah Vaigafa (Rongotai College) - Vaigafa played a starring role for the Wellington U15’s in their national championship win last year. After coming tenth in 2016, Wellington won the tourney last with Vaigafa scoring 38 points, and claiming nine rebounds and six assists in the final. Vaigafa helped Rongotai reach the Zone III final, their best result in many years. Vaigafa is aligned with the Saints and is a vital leader in the Rongotai roster.
Tom Cowie (Westlake Boys’ High School) - The point guard has been selected to be a part of the Breakers Academy and moved from Southland Boys’ High School at the start of the year. Cowie a New Zealand U17 representative had already had an NBL game for the Southland Sharks.
Will de Geest (Christ’s College) - Christ’s College won the Canterbury title for the first time in many years in 2017 and then advanced to the semi-finals of Nationals and lost to eventual champions Rosmini College in extra time. Will de Geest, a Canterbury age group rep standard talent, returns hoping to match the feats of his executional brother Max de Geest who was named in the National Secondary Schools tournament team and was awarded Canterbury Rams Junior Male Player of the Year. Max has signed for a scholarship to Long Beach State University in California, but has deferred entry until 2019.
New Zealand U15 squads selected
The 2018 New Zealand Under 15 boys and girls national basketball squads have been selected after a Basketball New Zealand age-group selection camp in April.
Both Under 15 teams will represent New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA Oceania Championships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in December
See the squad lists here: https://www.collegesportmedia.co.nz/basketball/nz-u15-boys-and-girls-basketball-squads-selected
The 2018 New Zealand Under 15 boys and girls national basketball squads have been selected after a Basketball New Zealand age-group selection camp in April.
Both Under 15 teams will represent New Zealand at the 2018 FIBA Oceania Championships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in December.
Basketball New Zealand’s High Performance Manager, Leonard King, says the players named have earned their spots after successfully showing they have emerging skill and talent to the national coaches.
“I trust that all of the athletes are excited to be formally announced in the Aon Under 15 New Zealand squad. This is the next step in the pathway to representing New Zealand.
“All squad members will be observed and evaluated at the 2018 Under 17 and Under 15 National Championships, and a final team selection will happen at the conclusion of those championships,” said King.
For those players that were not selected, King said they should hold onto their belief in making future squads.
“This is still a very young age group, and many players need time to grow and develop. My message to those players is keep having fun and working on those fundamental skills, because time can provide wonderful opportunities for young players. Never lose heart, work hard and you may be making these lists in age-group teams to come. Many other players have done just that before you
Aon New Zealand Under 15 Girls
· Reese Anderson, Waikato Basketball Council
· Makenzee Boucher, North Harbour Basketball
· Florence Dallow, North Harbour Basketball
· Jyordanna Davey, Hutt Valley Basketball
· Taiana Day, Tauranga City Basketball
· Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu, North Harbour Basketball
· Odessa Lawson, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc
· Kataleena Leslie, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc
· Riana Matiseni, Waitakere West Auckland Basketball Inc
· Hineaupounamu (Missy) Nuku, Tauranga City Basketball
· Alana Paewai, Waikato Basketball Council
· Janaya Preece, Basketball Hawkes Bay
· Emma Pugh, Hibiscus Coast Basketball
· Annabelle Ring, Basketball Otago
· Dekoda Roberts, Rotorua Basketball Association
· Anita Samasoni, Basketball Otago
· Melika Samia, Basketball Hawkes Bay
· Breeje Schuler, Waikato Basketball Council
· Hope Stanshall, Palmerston North Basketball
· Sera Taei, Basketball Auckland
· Vitolia Tuilave, Tauranga City Basketball
· Jayze'lee Waihi, Waikato Basketball Association
· Gemma Walsh, New Plymouth Basketball
· Olivia Williams, San Francisco USA
· Sam Woolford, Hibiscus Coast Basketball
· Management – Head Coach: Natalie Visger. Assistant Coaches: Justine Reed, Kaea Samson, Frances Tilly (not travelling to PNG) and Bronwen Davidson (not travelling to PNG). Manager: Glenda Kaan.
Aon New Zealand Under 15 Boys
· Max Abbot, Wellington
· Josh Book, Nelson
· Kazlo Evans Jr, Waikato
· Sam Gallagher, Canterbury
· Ben Gold, Wellington
· Junior James De Young, Thames Valley
· Toby Kendon, Hawke's Bay
· Levic Kerr, Auckland
· Tanae Lavery, Canterbury
· Mosiah MacDonald, Manawatu
· Jay Marsh, Nelson
· Akiva McBirney-Griffin, Waikato
· Ezekiel Priest, Harbour
· Tawhiao Puriri, Harbour
· Zach Riley, Harbour
· Dontae Russo-Nance, Waitakere
· Greg Rodger, Canterbury
· Riley Sa, Harbour
· Harrison Smith, Counties
· Will Stodart, Southland
· Sataan Tawera, Auckland
· Jett Thompson, Harbour
· Reegan Trego, Gold Coast
· Wairehu Waata, Hawke's Bay
· Paora Winitana, Harbour
· Tautoko Wynyard, Waitakere
· Management – Head Coach: TBA. Assistant Coach (and Acting Head Coach): Morgan Maskell. Assistant Coach: Brent Matehaere. Manager: TBA
Basketball is tipping off around the country as winter sports kick into gear. Girls basketball looks set to be dominated by St Peter’s Cambridge, who boast Charlisse Leger-Walker already an accomplished Tall Fern, and Queen Margaret College who have acquired three players from capital rivals St Mary’s College. Here are five names to closely monitor.
Charlisse Leger-Walker (St Peter’s Cambridge) - Scored 48 of her side’s 62 points in the National final which St Peter’s narrowly lost to St Mary’s College, Wellington having won the previous two years. Leger-Walker is only in Year 12, but is already a household name in New Zealand basketball having last year became the youngest Tall Fern ever and in April helping New Zealand win a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Leger-Walker top scored with 18 points in the third place playoff. Back from the Gold Coast, Leger-Walker recently top-scored with 22 points in the Waikato Wizards 56-50 win over the Auckland Dream in the women’s National competition.
Ella Bradley (St Peter’s Cambridge) -The most accomplished teammate of Charlisse Leger-Walker, Bradley has been a New Zealand U17 representative and twice National Secondary Schools champion, earning tournament team selection in 2017. A great ball handler and sharp shot, Bradley puts Leger-Walker in great position to score, but can be extremely dangerous when she captures fire herself.
Helen Matthews (Kaiapoi High School) - Kaiapoi High School isn’t a powerhouse in New Zealand secondary schools basketball, but in Helen Matthews they have a powerhouse player. Matthews plays for the North Canterbury Women's premier side and has represented various South Island outfits and last year made the New Zealand Under-17’s. At the Whelan Trophy in July last year the 16-year-old was described by her coaches as “a beast on the court.”
Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Mount Albert Grammar School) - The New Zealand U17 rep was a key figure in MAGS' drive to the 2016 National final which they lost competitively to St Peter’s Cambridge. A robust defender, swift ball handler and good shoot, MAGS will build their 2018 team around Pupuke-Robati and should be a genuine contender for the title in Auckland.
Grace Hunter (Queen Margaret College) - Hunter’s achievements in 2017 were considerable being named Wellington Girls Basketballer of the Year and earning selection for the New Zealand U18 Women’s Team. Hunter was the captain of St Mary’s national title winning team last year, but has switched to Queen Margaret College with New Zealand age group reps Paris Lokotui and Te Araroa Sopoaga. QMC beat St Mary’s College 71-22 last Friday.
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