The Aon New Zealand U17 Boys basketballers have placed third at the FIBA Asian Championship in Foshan with a 76-60 win over the Philippines on Sunday.
Next up is the U17 World Cup in Argentina in June.
They qualified for the U17 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals of the tournament and falling to Australia 86-61.
Shalom Broughton top-scored for New Zealand, compiling 14 points with five rebounds and three assists (4-of-7 FGs). Tom Cowie added 12 points, while Mitchell Dance and Kainoa Lepou each scored 10.
New Zealand had a superb tournament defensively, making life difficult in one way or another for all six of their opponents. This was a key to them taking control of the game against the Phillipines in their third placed match.
New Zealand trailed 5-12 early in the match, but nine first quarter points for Mitchell Dance helped give his team an 18-14 lead after 10 minutes.
The Philippines possessed a notable size advantage down low, but New Zealand’s frontcourt muscled up on both ends and effectively nullified the mismatch.
New Zealand led 42-21 at halftime, outscoring the Philippines 24-7 in the second quarter. Their large lead was a testament to some solid 3-point shooting, making 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Five players each hit 3-pointers for New Zealand in the first half.
The Philippines were held to 31.2 per cent shooting from the field and 30.4 per cent from three by New Zealand. Despite the Philippines’ size, New Zealand turned in a massive effort on the glass, grabbing a 48-37 advantage.
Marvin Williams-Dunn finished with a bang for New Zealand, posting 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Dance contributed 16 points (6-of-16 FG) and seven rebounds in the win, while Jake McKinlay added 10 points. Tom Cowie was productive across the board yet again, recording six points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
New Zealand head coach Dave Bublitz was thrilled with the team’s effort in Foshan.
“It was a really good way to finish the tournament. To go to the Asian Championship for the first time and earn a bronze medal is something the boys can be really proud of,” said Bublitz.
“It was great to see all of the boys making a positive contribution when subbed in. It was a solid team performance to finish,” he said.
Bublitz and his staff will assemble in May to determine the squad that will head to Argentina for the FIBA U17 World Cup in June.
“The group will meet in early May where they will have to retrial for their spots,” he said. “It’ll provide extra motivation for them to put work in between now and then, so they can cement their spot in Argentina.”
Leger-Walker impresses for Tall Ferns
Charlisse Leger-Walker of St Peter’s School is the youngest player ever to wear a Tall Ferns singlet but on the on the evidence of her showing in the 80-49 defeat of Jamaica, in Cairns at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday, she is destined for a long international future. The 16 year-old guard led all scorers with 18 points and also added 6 points, 4 assists, a steal and a block.
With three wins over Nigeria, Jamaica and India, the Tall Ferns secured a top two spot in Pool B of the Commonwealth Games Basketball Tournament and a place in the Qualifying Finals that start in Townsville on Tuesday.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee along with Basketball New Zealand has named the women’s basketball team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The naming concludes selections for the Games with the basketballers taking the final team number to 251 athletes, making it the largest ever New Zealand Commonwealth Games team.
New Zealand Tall Ferns Head Coach Guy Molloy has ensured there’s a balanced mix, consisting mostly of tried and trusted experience, but also with a youthful dose.
"After an excellent three-day camp in Dandenong last month, we have picked a team featuring a strong blend of youth and experience for the Commonwealth Games,” said Molloy today.
“Tall Ferns veterans such as Micaela Cocks, Toni Farnworth, and Natalie Purcell will lead admirably, whilst other talented Australian WNBL players Kalani Purcell, Chevannah Paalvast, and Jordan Hunter will provide scoring power and great defense.
“I am particularly excited, however, by the emergence of two very young Tall Ferns in Charlisse Leger-Walker and Zara Jillings. Amazingly Charlisse is only 16 years old, but she plays with the poise of a much older player and is a very clever playmaker. Similarly Zara is only 19 and is a freshman starter for Fordham University, but also really impressed during the Asia Cup campaign in 2017.
“The selected team is small, but fast and skilled, and we hope to play a great brand of basketball during the Games,” Molloy added.
Leger-Walker, a Year 12 student at St Peter’s School Cambridge, is set to become the youngest player to represent the Tall Ferns and the third member of her family to represent New Zealand at senior level following sister Krystal and mother Leanne.
Krystal, a sophmore guard at the University of Northern Colorado, also debuted for the Tall Ferns as a teenager back in 2014. Leanne is of course a two-time Olympian having attended the 1990 and 1994 Olympics with the Tall Ferns.
Needless to say Charlisse wasn’t the only member of her family to be excited about her selection.
“My mum was really excited. She has a bit of a poker face, but beneath that seriousness she was really happy. I told Krystal straight away as she was asking me every day if I was in the team, she is so excited that I am going to the Commonwealth Games.”
Having attended two training camps already, Leger-Walker feels comfortable in the Tall Ferns environment.
“The other girls treat me the same as everyone else and I don’t feel like I should step back. The senior players like Natalie and Micaela, who have a lot of experience in this team, are really good and treat me like any other player.”
Being the youngest member of the team is not an entirely strange scenario for the Kiwi playmaker.
“Since I was about 11 years-old, filling in for my sisters teams, I have played with older players so that’s the way I have been brought up. I think it has also worked well that I have played for the Junior Tall Ferns at a young age so it makes the transition to this team so much easier. Playing up in the age-groups has really benefitted my game skills and my basketball IQ,”
Balancing her school studies and playing international basketball presents a challenge that Leger-Walker is confident she can handle.
“I’m going to miss three weeks of school so it is going to be difficult. This term there are a lot of internals that I will have to catch up on in term two. Last year when I was away with New Zealand U16’s it worked out better, as it was mainly revision work at school. My teachers are really excited for me and we have been working together to ensure I don’t miss out on any credits. I’m really busy, but it’s pretty cool,” she added.
The rest of the squad contains nine of the players that attended the 2017 Asia Cup in Bangalore last July.
The other players not in Bangalore last year are Jordan Hunter and Erin Rooney. Hunter, the former Counties-Manukau guard, returns having missed the whole of the 2017 international campaign after incurring an ACL injury in the opening round of the Women’s Basketball Championship in Auckland last year.
Rooney last played for the national team at the 2016 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in France and most recently has been playing in the Swiss National League for Troistorrents.
Molloy will have a number of experienced Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) players to call upon including Kalani Purcell who plays for his Melbourne Boomers club side.
Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire), Toni Farnworth (Perth Lynx) and Chevannah Paalvast (Canberra Capitals) are the other current WNBL players.
Cocks, a three-time WNBL championship winner with Townsville, is the only survivor from the Tall Ferns team that won a silver medal at the 2006 Games in Melbourne – the last time basketball was included in the four-yearly event. Tall Ferns Assistant Coach Jody Cameron was also part of that Commonwealth Games team.
Cocks is also a veteran of the 2008 Beijing Olympics campaign as is another senior member of the squad, Natalie Taylor.
Molloy is excited about the talent at his disposal and is looking forward to building the team and the culture for the Commonwealth Games and beyond.
“The mission is to develop the New Zealand team into one of the top teams in the FIBA Asia qualification zone and we want to make a fast start at the Commonwealth Games also. I want to get off to a great start and we want to hit that tournament full steam.” Molloy added.
The Tall Ferns will head into a pre-Games training camp before opening their Commonwealth Games campaign with a game against Malaysia on 5 April in Cairns.
New Zealand Tall Ferns Team:
Mitchell Dance was MVP in the National Secondary Schools basketball final last year. The power forward top scored for his triumphant Rosmini College team. What was the key moment in the tight decider against Rangitoto College?
“I honestly think it was the warm up. It was 2-2 against Rangitoto going into that match and we knew if we wanted to win we had to execute our plays. The boys were really focussed and I knew from that point on we were in good shape,” Dance reflects.
The New Zealand U17 basketball team departs for China this week to take part in the FIBA U16 Asian Championships in April.
The thirteen-team tournament is being held in Foshan and doubles as a qualifying tournament for the FIBA World Championships in Argentina later in the year.
New Zealand is grouped in Pool A along with China and defending champions Hong Kong. To make the World Championships the Kiwis require a top four finish. Dance has been selected and is quick to emphasize New Zealand will have to show a similar focus to Rosmini to accomplish their goal of a World Championship berth.
“We're in a tough group and are working hard. I think we've got a talented team. Some of the players to watch include Marvin Williams-Dunn my teammate from Rosmini, Tom Cowie and Jaylin To’o from Wellington,” Dance says.
Only one of the 12 players selected are from the South Island with half the roster playing in the Auckland Premiership that contributed the leading three schools at Nationals last year. The Kiwis head coach is Dave Bublitz from New Plymouth.
“I've worked with Dave before at the U16 state champs in Melbourne last year. He is a tough guy, a real hard competitor who knows the game and sets high expectations,” Dance acclaims.
Expectations are high at Rosmini College for another prosperous 2018 season. The team has been training since January an approach which is bore fruit last year.
“We're not the biggest team so we know we have to be able to move the ball quickly and be fitter than everyone else. If we can play a high speed, high skill game we'll be competitive,” Dance explains.
“We're still pretty young. We have five year 13’s back and have picked up Kainoa Lepou, a New Zealand teammate from Hamilton Boys,’ and Tom Seuren from St Paul’s Collegiate. Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Taine Murray and Jayden Boucher are all good players,” Dance continued.
Rosmini’s biggest loss is that of William Heather. The Auckland Premiership starts in term two after the Easter holidays.
The Aon New Zealand Under 17 Boys team has been named ahead of the upcoming FIBA U16 Asian Championship.
The thirteen-team tournament, which runs from April 2-8, is being held in Foshan, China. The championship doubles as Asia’s qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup to be held in Argentina later this year.
New Zealand has been drawn in Pool A along with China and Hong Kong, with the top placed team advancing directly to the quarter-finals. If placed second New Zealand will face the third placed team in Pool B for a spot in the last eight.
Pool B is made up of Australia, Philippines and Malaysia. Pool C comprises of Iran, Chinese Taipei and Macau with defending champions Korea, Japan, Lebanon and India in Pool D.
New Zealand Head Coach Dave Bublitz is looking forward to the tournament with preparation a long time in the making as the championship was originally scheduled for October 2017.
“We held our first camp back in December 2016 so we have had a long time preparing for this event.
“The majority of the team we have selected came on a tour of the Philippines in July last year. We used that tour to gain experience playing against Asian style basketball, which is very guard orientated and quite different to the style we are accustomed to in New Zealand.
“We have had a total of six camps as a build up to the Asia qualifier, the last being in Rotorua in December. That camp was very beneficial and I know when the team comes together again later this month they will bond very quickly.”
Bublitz stated that the goal for the coaching staff and players was very simple.
“We want to make the quarter finals then from there we are one win away from a place at the FIBA U17 World Cup.”
Bublitz expects the main competition to come from traditional foes.
“I imagine Australia will start favourites and Asian powerhouse China are always formidable. I’ve also heard that Japan and Korea operate with full-time coaches so we can expect those two teams to be strong.”
The team will gather for a couple of days training in Auckland on 26 March and will also play a couple of warm-up games in China before the tournament gets underway on 2 April.
Aon New Zealand Under 17 Boys team:
Head Coach: David Bublitz
Assistant Coach: Doug Courtney
Assistant Coach: Aaron Young
Manager: Delwyn Whale
Team Doctor/Physio: Todd Wolfe
More information on the event can be found at the FIBA website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16/2017/news/draw-results-in-for-fiba-u16-asian-championship
Year 12 St Peter’s School standout Charlisse Leger-Walker joins 21 other female basketballers, including her older sister Kyrstal, this weekend in Melbourne in camp with the Tall Ferns.
From this camp, new Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy will select his team of 12 players for the April Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and Cairns.
This will be 16-year-old guard Leger-Walker’s second Tall Ferns training camp after trialling for the team last year.
In October she captained the New Zealand Women’s U17 team to the semi-finals of the FIBA Asian Championship and to qualification for this July's 2018 FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Belarus.
Leger-Walker is one of three uncapped players named, including England based forward Tea Charlton and former New Plymouth Girls’ High player Kayla Manuirirangi, now a sophmore at Tulane University, USA.
Leger-Walker was named MVP of the National Secondary Schools tourney in October as well as the under-19 and 23 Nationals MVP last year. Charlisse is a regular starter in the Waikato Wizards in the National Women’s competition
The team selected for the Commonwealth Games taking place in Cairns and on the Gold Coast will be named in early March. The Tall Ferns open their Commonwealth Games campaign with a game against Malaysia on April 5th in Cairns.
Players named in the extended training squad:
Georgia Agnew (Harbour Heat, NZ)
Stella Beck (St Mary’s College, California, USA)
Jacinta Beckley (Seattle University, USA)
Brooke Blair (Idaho State University, USA)
Jess Bygate (Sandringham Sabres, Australia)
Tea Charlton (Nottingham Wildcats, England
Micaela Cocks (Townsville Fire, Australia)
Penina Davidson (University of California Berkeley, USA)
Toni Farnworth (Perth Lynx, Australia)
Deena Franklin (Harbour Heat, NZ)
Jordan Hunter (Sturt Sabres, Australia)
Zara Jillings (Fordham University, USA)
Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Wizards/St Peter’s School, Cambridge)
Krystal Leger-Walker (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
Kayla Manuirirangi (Tulane University, USA)
Katelin Noyer (Fresno State University, USA)
Rebecca Ott (Melbourne Boomers, Australia)
Chevannah Paalvast (Canberra Capitals, Australia)
Kalani Purcell (Melbourne Boomers, Australia)
Erin Rooney (Troistorrents, Switzerland)
Josie Stockill (Sunbury Jets, Australia)
Natalie Taylor (Brisbane Spartans, Australia)
The plan for the Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) Under 16 Talent Develop Programme has been set for the 2018 to 2020 competition cycle, as the coaches and trialists for that programme have been announced today by BBNZ.
The coaches that will run the age-group programme are Natalie Visger and Zico Coronel. Their key targets will be made up of annual FIBA events – the FIBA Oceania Championships in 2018, which is a qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup in 2019, which is also a qualifier for the FIBA World Cup in 2020. Part of the preparation also includes the pinnacle event for the Select teams, who will play in the Australian State Champs.
Basketball New Zealand also announced the longlist of players that will trial for selection into the first year of this programme. The list was compiled by the coaches in consultation with regional basketball associations throughout New Zealand. Trials will be held on 3 to 6 February, 2018.
Aon New Zealand Under 16 Coaches:
Assistant Coaches: Morgan Maskell and Brent Matehaere
Assistant Coaches: George Robinson and Josh Davis.
Assistant Coaches: Justine Reed and Frances Tilly.
Assistant Coaches: Bronwen Davidson and Kaea Sampson.
Trialists for the Aon New Zealand Under 16 girls programme
Basketball Auckland | Lilly Parke
Basketball Auckland | Sera Taei
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Anna Haronga
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Janaya Preece
Basketball Manawatu | Leah Powick
Basketball Manawatu | Hope Stanshall
Basketball Manawatu | Te Arani Te Puni
Basketball Mid Canterbury | Mia Pearson
Basketball Otago | Libby Briggs
Basketball Otago | Annabelle Ring
Basketball Otago | Anita Samasoni
Canterbury Basketball Association | Mia Abercrombie
Canterbury Basketball Association | Maia Williamson
Counties Manakau Basketball Association | Jordan Koteka
Harbour Basketball | Simone Barnard
Harbour Basketball | Makenzee Boucher
Harbour Basketball | Florence Dallow
Harbour Basketball | Rosalie Dil
Harbour Basketball | Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu
Harbour Basketball | Maia McBirney
Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association | Kirsty Laming
Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association | Janke Pretorius
Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association | Emma Pugh
Hibiscus Coast Basketball Association | Sam Woolford
Hutt Valley Basketball Association | Jyordanna Davey
Hutt Valley Basketball Association | D'stani Foley
Hutt Valley Basketball Association | Kate Potts
Hutt Valley Basketball Association | Tia Remuera
Hutt Valley Basketball Association | Christina Wen
North Canterbury Basketball Association | Elsie McRobb
North Canterbury Basketball Association | Holly Monopoli
Queensland Basketball, Australia | Kaylee Whakaruru
Rotorua Basketball Association | Dekoda Roberts
Taranaki Country Basketball | Gemma Walsh
Taranaki Country Basketball | Elle Williams
Tasman Basketball | Ruby Roberts
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Taiana Day
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Hineaupounamu (Missy) Nuku
USA | Olivia Williams
Waikato Basketball Council | Reese Anderson
Waikato Basketball Council | Keyani Leith
Waikato Basketball Council | Alana Paewai
Waikato Basketball Council | Breeje Schuler
Waikato Basketball Council | Leila Ta'ala
Waikato Basketball Council | Hinetekawa Thomson-Laulu
Waikato Basketball Council | Jayze'lee Waihi
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Odessa Lawson
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Kataleena Leslie
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Riana Matiseni
Trialists for the Aon New Zealand Under 16 boys programme
Basketball Auckland | Daniel Boyd
Basketball Auckland | Levic Kerr
Basketball Auckland | Sataan Tawera
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Toby Kendon
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Lamour Spooner
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Wairehu Waata
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Brodie Walker
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Jack Wills
Basketball Hawke's Bay | Paora Winitana Jnr
Basketball Manawatu | Kobe Ahpene
Basketball Manawatu | Mosiah Macdonald
Basketball Manawatu | Zavier Pearn
Basketball Manawatu | Billy Tanoa
Basketball Mid Canterbury | Riley Sa
Basketball Otago | Benjamen Freeman
Canterbury Basketball Association | Tautahi Briggs
Canterbury Basketball Association | Sam Gallagher
Canterbury Basketball Association | Tanae Lavery
Canterbury Basketball Association | Greg Rodger
Counties Manakau Basketball Association | Levi Jackson
Counties Manakau Basketball Association | Harrison Smith
Harbour Basketball | Boston Caldwell
Harbour Basketball | David Jovanovic
Harbour Basketball | Tawhiao Kaitapu
Harbour Basketball | Ezekiel Priest
Harbour Basketball | Zach Riley
Harbour Basketball | Jett Thompson
Harbour Basketball | Pita Topia
Porirua Basketball Association | Levi Ware
Queensland, Australia | Reegan Trego
Southland Basketball Association | Will Stodart
Tasman Basketball | Josh Book
Tasman Basketball | Jay Marsh
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Salem Broughton
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Moihi Gardner
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Braydon Iuli
Tauranga City Basketball Association | Piripi Tapsell
Waikato Basketball Council | Junior De Young
Waikato Basketball Council | Kazlo Evans
Waikato Basketball Council | Akiva McBirney-Griffin
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Morgan Aiono
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Wodjiouma Coulibaly
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Hunter Cuff
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Dontae Russo-Nance
Waitakere West Basketball Association | Ethan Skelton
Wellington Basketball Association | Max Abbot
Wellington Basketball Association | Kaleb McDonald
Wellington Basketball Association | James Quinn
Wellington Basketball Association | Kane Upton-Mahan
The stories continue to flow with young Kiwi basketballers attracting scholarships to play in the near-professional environment of Division 1 basketball. One of those young players is James Moors, who has signed for Drake University.
Moors was approached by no less than ten Division 1 universities based in the US. The Iowa based Drake University won out with an offer of a full-ride four-year scholarship.
The scholarship is worth around NZD$400,000 and covers tuition, room and board, study books, cost of attendance, all the gear and a trip abroad when the team goes on tour.
“I chose Drake because it was the best overall fit for me basketball-wise and academically, and I believe they provide me with the best opportunity to go to the NBA. The relationship with the coaches is very special. They wanted me more than all the other schools and I really value that. I believe in them and they believe in me, they have a great plan for my success there.
Moors said the fact that Drake Bulldogs’ Assistant Coach, Ali Farokhmanesh, coached “a fellow Westlaker” and Tall Black Tai Webster at Nebraska University, was a big factor in his decision making.
“Coach Ali helped Tai go onto great things and Tai even reached out to my coaches recommending I choose Drake. The feeling clicked on my visit and my mum and I knew it was a great fit for me.
“I visited Portland, San Francisco, and Drake. Drake was my third visit and we got a gut feeling about it. There were so many good things about the basketball team, school and campus.
“Coach Ali contacted me first, he saw my highlight tape from Custom College Recruiting and then Tai Webster reached out to him and told him about me. Coach Ali started recruiting me around June, and him and the whole coaching staff came to see me play in LA for the double pump tournament and then in Las Vegas for the Fab 48 tournament.”
Moors has come a long way since first playing basketball in Year Four for his Willow Park Primary School team. It wasn’t long before he found his way to the Harbour Basketball Association and he’s been playing there ever since, but his success is something he doesn’t consider a solo effort.
“I want to thank my Mum. She has been a solo parent my whole High School life and has done an amazing job looking after my five younger siblings and I.
“I also want to thank my Dad. His financial aid has given me the opportunity to play overseas and get the exposure I needed. I’d like to thank the rest of my family and friends for pushing me to get to this level and always having my back. My coaches Zac, Morgan, Kevin, Mike and everyone else who has helped develop me on and off the court over the years. I’d also like to thank Custom College Recruiting for all the exposure they gave me, Harbour Basketball for the endless opportunities I have been given and Westlake for everything academically, basketball wise, and the brotherhood I have and will always be a part of.”
Moors says he has always loved basketball for as long as he can remember, and says it’s that love and drive to achieve his goals that has helped make it to this level.
“In Year 11, when I didn't even make the top 40 players in the country for the New Zealand Under 16 team trial, I was heartbroken and wanted to prove everyone wrong. From that moment I set some massive goals for myself: win the U17 National Title and MVP, make the New Zealand U18 team, the New Zealand U18 3x3 team, make the Nike All Asia and Adidas Nations camps, and get a Division 1 scholarship.”
Now that contract has been signed with Drake, Moors has achieved all of those goals. And while basketball remains his ultimate ambition, with his sights set firmly on the NBA, he also says his academic goals are close behind.
“I hope to gain a degree that will set me up for life after basketball, perhaps studying some form of business. It was good to find out Drake is a private school with caps of a 1-18 teacher-student ratio, and their degrees are one of the top in the country, being internationally recognized. And I hope to develop into the best basketball player I can be, in preparation for the NBA.”
To keep up with James Moors adventures, follow him on instagram @james_moors.
There's been plenty of great secondary school basketball this year. Below are five individual boys and girls we've watched and spoken to in 2017.
Mitchell Dance (Rosmini College) - Dance wasn’t even supposed to go to Nationals after injuring his ankle in Rosmini’s Zone I success, but the guard is made of tough stuff and showed his exceptional quality by winning Nationals 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 has been a regular selection in national age group rep teams.
Max de Geest (Christ’s College) - Christ’s were massive improvers in basketball this season rising from 20th to 4th at Nationals, losing to eventual winners Rosmini College in overtime in the semi-finals. Much of Christ’s improvement was driven by guard Max de Geest. The leading scorer for Christ’s in their narrow 62-60 loss to Cashmere in the Thompson Cup final, de Geest drove the team to even greater heights when he helped Christ’s claim the South Island title for the first time and then was named on the tournament team at Nationals. In 2018 the National age-group rep will head to Division 1 NCAA College Long Beach State on a basketball scholarship.
Dan Fotu (Rangitoto College) - At some stage in mid-2018 Daniel Fotu will head to San Francisco to link up with NCAA Division I outfit St Mary’s College. Fotu was again outstanding in the Rangitoto singlet in 2017. He led his school to the Auckland title and top scored with 28 points in the National final as Rangitoto narrowly lost to Rosmini. Fotu has been a New Zealand rep at Under 16, 17, 18 and 19 levels.
Grace Hunter (St Mary’s College) - The national age group representative guard was the outstanding captain of the St Mary’s team in 2017 who swept the Wellington, Zone III and National titles. Hunter scored 11 points in the final; against St Peter’s Cambridge and always impressed with her quick, dribbling, precise passing and astute leadership. She was named Wellington girls Basketballer of the Year at the College Sport Wellington Awards.
Charlisse Leger-Walker (St Peter’s Cambridge) - Leger-Walker is the most dominant age group female player in New Zealand. She was named MVP of the National Secondary Schools tourney in October as well as the under-19 and 23 Nationals MVP this year. Charlisse is a regular starter in the Waikato Wizards in the National Women’s competition and at only 15 years of age is on the cusp of Tall Ferns selection already.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2017. Got a story? Email email@example.com
Paris Lokotui has just completed a stellar year in three sports. On Friday she scored 19 points and nine rebounds as New Zealand defeated Thailand 80-52 in their quarter-final game to qualify for next year’s basketball U17 Women’s FIBA World Cup.
Making this team and helping them finish fourth at the U17 Women’s Asian Championship in India, the Queen Margaret College, Wellington, Year 11 student on a Fuji Xerox scholarship completed her involvement this year in her third international team in as many different sports. The other two sports are netball and water polo.
Paris (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kuri, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Tonga) has been involved in athletics, hockey, touch, volleyball, swimming, under water hockey, water polo, netball and basketball. Two years ago, in Year 9, to balance sports and school work, Paris decided to focus on water polo, netball and basketball and that decision has paid off.
Paris’s year got off to a great start with her being named in the Aotearoa Māori Netball International Secondary School team that competed against ten teams in the International U19 Schools Challenge in Fiji in May. Paris was part of the winning team which went undefeated throughout the rounds and beat the All Australia Netball Team 40-28 in the final. "It was amazing to play in the final and the atmosphere and support from within the team and from the crowd was amazing. I felt so proud to be on the court that day."
In July this year Paris had a really busy month. Goal keeper Paris was a member of the NZ Water polo U16 team that competed in at the inaugural Sydney Water Polo Youth Festival and played against Australian state teams and Thailand.
Paris was also in the Wellington U17 Netball team that won the New Zealand U17 National Championships in Counties- Manukau and made the tournament team. Paris then represented Wellington Basketball in the U17 National Championships and made the tournament team. Making the New Zealand U17 Women’s Basketball Team that competed in the just concluded FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore was terrific reward for hard work.
Paris was proud to be part of the Queen Margaret College Senior A Basketball team that qualified for the Wellington Secondary School Basketball Premiership in 2018 for the first time ever.
Paris was equally proud to be part of the QMC Senior A Netball team that placed fourth at the Lower North Island Secondary School Netball tournament and qualified for the NZSS Netball Nationals in another first for the school. Paris made the LNISS tournament team but was unable to attend due to a clash with her NZ U17 basketball commitments.
Paris has a strict training schedule and most days is either at the pool, gym or down at the basketball court. She is also focussed on making sure that she gets good grades and she is very grateful to Queen Margaret College for working with her to ensure that she keeps up with her school work when she is away. Paris says she loves everything about sports, the competiveness, the environment and the friendships she has made.
Sports run in the family. Paris’ father Lua Lokotui is a professional rugby player recently retiring from International rugby with Tonga having played at the last two Rugby World Cups and representing Hawke’s Bay and Wellington in recent years
The Aon New Zealand Women’s U17 basketball team has made history by becoming the first junior-women’s national side to qualify for a basketball World Cup.
The team beat Thailand 80-52 in their quarter-final of the FIBA Asian Championship overnight in Inida, securing one of the four qualifying spots for the 2018 FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Belarus next July.
New Zealand meets Japan on Friday for a place in the final.
New Zealand was drawn in ‘Group A’ alongside Australia (L 61-43), Korea (W 74-44) and Chinese Taipei (W 71-66).
The Group A teams cross over with the Group B teams in the quarter-final match ups. Group B is made up of three times champions China, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Sharne Pupuke-Robati was instrumental in giving New Zealand a 19-12 quarter time lead. The power forward was close to a double-double at the first break with 9 points and 10 rebounds.
There was a more even spread of scoring in the second stanza as the Ferns extended their advantage to 37-21 at the interval. Tayla Dallton took her tally to nine points with Ella Bradley adding six. Wellington forward Paris Lokotui contributed a useful 5 points and 5 rebounds as the Kiwis dominated the rebound count 35-23.
Coach Lori McDaniel called a timeout after a scrappy start to the second half and Pupuke-Robati responded in fine fashion scoring 7 straight points to extend the NZ advantage to 45-27. Tessa Talo-Tomokino added a pair of baskets and when Lokotui scored with a neat inside basket NZ led 57-35 at three-quarter time and had one hand on a World Cup ticket.
After a Tayla Dalton steal and lay-up the Kiwi forwards dominated the final stanza without having to further call on Pupuke-Robati (16 points and 15 rebounds). Lokotui scored 9 points in the period to finish with an impressive 19 points and 9 rebounds with coach McDaniel describing her performance as, “Outstanding, we were very happy with the way she performed today.”
Also impressive in the final quarter were Isabelle Cook (6 points and 9 rebounds) and Ella Bradley (10 points and 7 rebounds).
Coach McDaniel was naturally delighted with the performance of her team and the achievement of reaching the World Cup.
“The girls, the coaching staff and management have worked really hard and I think it shows that the game in NZ is on the rise. Our junior teams are performing really well.”
Captain Leger-Walker was also pleased, “I think the girls really stepped up today, everyone got on the court and made a contribution,” she said.
New Zealand will meet Japan in the semi- final of the Asian Championship on Friday and McDaniel is looking forward to that challenge.
“We are delighted to have achieved our goal of reaching the World Cup but we are also excited to play Japan in the semi-final. Japan are a great team, very disciplined, and they execute well so they will be a true test.”
New Zealand 80 – Lokotui 19p/9r, Pupuke-Robati 16p/15r, Dalton 11, Bradley 10p/7r, Cook 6p/9r, Leger-Walker 6, Talo-Tomokino 5, Paniora 3, Rogers 3, Samia 1
Thailand 52 – Phuekraksa 14, Sriharaksa 10
NZ Under 17 Women’s Team:
• Ella Bradley (Waikato Basketball Council)
• Isabelle Cook (Taranaki Country Basketball Association)
• Tayla Dalton (Harbour Basketball)
• Charlisse Leger-Walker (Waikato Basketball Council)
• Paris Lokotui (Wellington Basketball Association)
• Jordyn Maddix (Harbour Basketball)
• Helen Matthews (North Canterbury Basketball Association)
• Kyra Paniora (Australia)
• Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Auckland Counties Manukau)
• Briarley Rogers (Tauranga City Basketball Association)
• Rosalia Samia (Basketball Hawkes Bay)
• Tessalonia Talo-Tomokino (Harbour Basketball)
• Lori McDaniel – Head Coach
• Jody Cameron – Assistant Coach
• Gina Farmer – Assistant Coach
• Ushma Shah – Manager
• Tegan Tapara – Physiotherapist
• Delwyn Whale – Head of Delegation
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