Tall Blacks win but Northern Kāhu come up short in Tauihi Grand Final.
Isaac Fotu and Rob Loe, two of the finest Harbour products to wear a Tall Blacks singlet, stepped on court together at Eventfinda Stadium on Monday night as New Zealand confirmed a spot at the 2023 FIBA World Cup with a straightforward 100-72 win over Jordan.
The pair were dominant on the boards where the Kiwis out rebounded the Jordanians 54-38. Isaac finished with 8 rebounds and 7 points while Rob had 6 boards and 9 points making 3 from 5 from beyond the arc. Veterans of previous World Cup campaigns both players would appear to be shoe-ins for Coach Pero Cameron’s squad for next year’s Worlds.
While we have been fortunate to witness Rob in action on home soil with both the Breakers and more recently the Auckland Tuatara the same cannot be said of Isaac.
The former Rangitoto College standout has spent the last ten years playing overseas. Initially it was at the University of Hawaii and subsequently his professional career has taken him to Spain, Germany, Italy and currently to Japan.
As a result of his overseas commitments Monday night’s game was only the 8th time in 63 Tall Blacks appearances that Isaac has laced up his boots on New Zealand soil.
The Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Grand Final went the way of the Tokomanawa Queens after they defeated Northern Kāhu 71-62 at the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson on Saturday.
Micaela Cocks top scored for the Kāhu with 14 points while Tera Reed had a team high 10 rebounds to go with 9 points.
The Kāhu finished the regular season with a League best 10-2 record before going on to defeat Whai 78-63 in the semi-finals.
They came up short in the championship game but the final was a fitting climax to a wonderful first season of women’s professional basketball in New Zealand.
Before the Final 4 Micaela received another award to add to her long and illustrious resume after being named to the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa All-Star Five.\
The former Takapuna Grammar and Harbour guard averaged 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals on 45.3% shooting from the field and 45.1% from beyond the three-point arc during a season that the most capped Tall Fern admitted had exceeded her expectations.
“Playing in the league has been one of the highlights of my career because of how much fun I’ve had. I didn’t realise how good it would feel playing back in New Zealand.”
In addition to Micaela and Tera the Kāhu squad boasted a number of other past and present Harbour representatives – Olivia Berry, Ashley Kelman-Poto, Jazz Kailahi-Fulu, Keeley Tini. Mackenzie Chatfield and Rosie Dil.
We can’t wait to see Tauihi 2023 unfold.