Canterbury shows its strength in national age-grade championships

Canterbury is forging a dominant year in age-grade basketball.

It claimed both the boys and girls titles at the under-17 national championships, which ended on Saturday at the Edgar Centre.

That followed last month’s under-19 championships, in which Canterbury won the men’s title and finished second in the girls’ contest.

The girls were forced to play catch-up in Saturday’s final, eventually running out 80-71 winners over Hutt Valley.

Hutt led 28-13 at the end of the first quarter, an early shooting barrage giving it a handy buffer.

However, Canterbury held it to just six second-quarter points and reduced the deficit to 34-33 at halftime.

It opened a gap in the third quarter and while Hutt never went away, Canterbury held it off.

Centre Lauren Whittaker was named tournament MVP, posting 22 points on 70% shooting in the final, while pulling down 13 rebounds.

Versatile left-handed forward Jyordanna Davey had 24 points in an impressive effort for Hutt.

The boys’ win was more emphatic, as a 29-17 first quarter lead helped Canterbury to a 107-91 win over Auckland.

Auckland pulled back after that start, although never genuinely threatened Canterbury’s lead.

Canterbury forward Hunter Adam poured on 40 points on 18-23 shooting.

He added 10 rebounds, to go with four steals and four blocks.

14-year-old forward Nic Book, son of former Tall Black Ed Book, showed class in posting 28 points and 10 rebounds.

For Auckland Dante Matakatea led the way with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

The Otago girls’ team finished seventh, beating Tauranga 68-56 in their playoff.

The Otago boys beat Harbour B 92-77 to finish 13th.

The under-15 national championships are next on the schedule, beginning in Auckland on Wednesday.

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