Silver for U23 Men - Harbour Breeze 4th
The Women’s D League, featuring the Harbour Breeze, and the Men’s U23 National Championship were played over four days (August 17-20) with Harbour Basketball hosting at Eventfinda Stadium and AUT last week.
The Harbour Men had to settle for a silver medal after going down 95-97 in a thrilling final to Taranaki while the very young Harbour Breeze side finished a highly creditable fourth.
The U23 Men were largely untroubled through pool play and the quarter-final but played out two epic games at the sharp end of the tournament with both the semi-final, against Hawkes Bay, and the Grand Final undecided until the final possession of those games.
In the semi-final Harbour showed resolve to turn around a half-time 46-34 deficit to eke out a 93-90 win.
Grand Final report:
The quickest basket of the tournament saw Liam Judd hammer down an athletic one handed dunk from the Dallas Clayton jump ball tip - Harbour setting the intensity straight away for a fast-paced Grand Final.
The two teams went blow for blow to send it to 23 points apiece at the end of the first.
Taranaki struggled from deep early on, scoring all but three of their points under the basket. Going 1/10 from three point range early was a sign that driving the ball in would be their best chance at securing points. The second quarter wasn’t much different for either team, as the scores stayed very close at 46-44.
Taranaki put on the jets in the third quarter, making it out to a 12 point lead during it, making Harbour play catchup for the majority of the quarter. Ben Carlile-Smith wasn’t about to let the game slide as he knocked over 23 points in total. Benji Freeman, a force from the Taranaki team came from the bench and played 30 minutes with 23 points, shooting at 71% from 2PT and nabbing nine rebounds. The score settled at 74-68 at the end of the third.
That advantage had increased to 85-74 before Harbour mounted a revival.
Liam Judd and Dallas Clayton came up with big plays as Harbour narrowed to 90-87 with under 4 minutes to play.
Jett Thompson cancelled out a Taranaki score – he and Clayton scoring back-to back to put Harbour up 93-92 with 2 minutes to play.
The lead changed hands twice in the next 60 seconds - Reuben Fitzgerald’s score putting Harbour ahead 95-94.
Both teams had further scoring opportunities but it was Taranaki’s Benji Freeman’s layup, with 16 seconds left to play, that decided an exciting and absorbing U23 National Grand Final.
Congratulations to Liam Judd and Jett Thompson who were deservedly named to the U23 Tournament Team.
Harbour 99 Tauranga 38
Wuthrich 20, Te Puni 17, Martin 16, Judd 11, Clayton 8, Kooiman 8 Harbour 88 Auckland 79
Thompson 18, Fitzgerald 15, Clayton 15, Judd 14, Te Puni 8, James 8
Harbour 98 Canterbury 82
Kooiman 19, Judd 19Thompson 18, Wuthrich 18
Harbour 103 Northland 47
Kooiman 20, Te Puni 17, Martin 11, James 11, Clayton 10, Thompson 10
Harbour 93 Hawkes Bay 90
Thompson 31/9r/5a, Fitzgerald 19/11r. Judd 13/13r, Clayton 10, Te Puni 8
Harbour 95 Taranaki 97
Thompson 31/9r/5a, Judd 27, Fitzgerald 9, Clayton 8
Harbour U23 Squad
Mandela Beledrokadroka, Jayden Boucher, Dallas Clayton, Reuben Fitzgerald, Finn James, Liam Judd, Josh Kooiman, Tyler Martin, Jacob Tawhiao, Jett Thompson, Joe Wuthrich, Zack Te Puni
The Harbour Breeze squad was by far the youngest in the tournament, with five of the girls still being at high school. We won both pool games and also the quarter-final match up with Taranaki (70-47).
In the semi-final they were beaten 88-65 by eventual winners Auckland Dream and also went down 73-65 to Centerbury in the bronze medal match.
Congratulations to Hannah Wentworth who was named to the D League Tournament Team. Hannah and Nicole Scales return to the States this week to resume their NCAA careers at NCAA DII Eckerd College - we wish both players well.
Results and Leading scorers:
Breeze 91 Auckland Dream Blue 49
Pugh 15, Chatfield 14, Wentworth 13, Pateman 11, Tuilave 7, Negishi 7, Flavell 6
Breeze 73 Canterbury 66
Scales 15, Chatfield 14, Anderson 14, Wentworth 12, Pugh 12, Negishi 6
Breeze 70 Taranaki Thunder 47
Negishi 16, I Pugh 16, Scales 15, Wentworth 8
Breeze 65 Auckland Dream Black 88
Chatfield 20, Pugh 18/10rebs, Anderson 10, Negishi 7
Harbour 73 Canterbury 65
Wentworth 19, Negishi 12, Scales 11, Pugh 9
Harbour Breeze Squad
Azure Anderson, Mackenzie Chatfield, Rosie Dil, Bailey Flavell, Rebecca Moors, Yume Negishi, Amy Pateman, Izzy Pugh, Nicole Scales, Qaizden Stephano, Vitolia Tuilave, Hannah Wentworth