Basketball: Red-hot third quarter key for Waitakere

Victorious Waitakere West Premiers players celebrate as two of their Harbour rivals walk off...
Victorious Waitakere West Premiers players celebrate as two of their Harbour rivals walk off court dejectedly after the final of the national under-19 basketball tournament at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin yesterday. The winning margin was one point. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Waitakere West Premiers will thank an unbelievably hot third quarter for helping them beat tournament favourite Harbour 90-89 in the men's national under-19 basketball tournament yesterday.

Trailing 49-35 at halftime, Waitakere scored the first 17 points of the third quarter to win the quarter 36-12, at Dunedin's Edgar Centre.

Waitakere played amazing team basketball, and got the crowd behind it with some lights-out three-point shooting.

Waitakere players Deron Raukawa and Mathew Lacy were hot from the three-point line, hitting shots continuously to bring the crowd to their feet.

Harbour had to rely on some spectacular play by young star Tai Webster, who scored 42 points for his side.

Webster struggled to find anyone to help him, with running mate Reuben Te Rangi having an off night managing only 12 points.

With Waitakere leading 71-61 after three quarters, Webster helped his team claw back the scores at 89 apiece.

With 18 seconds left on the clock, Waitakere inbounded the ball and sent it straight to hot shooter Tohiraukura Milner-Smith to shoot for the win.

However, as he put up the shot he was fouled shooting for three, and was then sent to the free-throw line to shoot for the win with less than one second left on the clock.

He hit the first to put Waitakere up one, missed the net on the second and deliberately missed the third attempt to run the clock out for the victory.

Milner-Smith finished with 17 points.

Captain and tournament most valuable player Timothy Apisai was inspirational for his team all night and scored 19 points.

Earlier, in the women's final, Waikato showed class in beating Waitakere 55-42 thanks to a third quarter where it outscored its opponent 23-8.

Both teams put up impressive games in the first half and could not be separated with the scores deadlocked 22-22 at the break.

However, Waikato captain and tournament most valuable player Jaylen-Rose Hawea sparked her team on her way to top scoring with 14 points.

She was helped by team-mate Rhaiah Spooner-Knight who contributed with 13 points with some impressive jump shots.

For Waitakere, captain Penina Davidson continued her tournament hot form with 13 points.

Earlier, both Otago sides finished ninth in their grades.

- John McKenzie.


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