You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
They just did not score enough. Not nearly enough.
A hard-fought grind fell the way of the Northern Kahu at the Edgar Centre yesterday.
The Hoiho led most of the way, and for a while looked as though they might escape, but ultimately came up short 50-46 in their first Tauihi Basketball home game.
Captain Samara Gallaher provided the home side’s only real scoring presence.
She showed her threat both from deep and at the hoop, finishing with 19 points and grabbing 11 boards.
That became evident in the fourth quarter, when she helped put the team ahead 40-36.
But there was not enough else and, as the Kahu began looking after Gallaher, the Hoiho could not keep up down the stretch.
Plenty showed their value in other areas, but ultimately this team needs more players putting the ball in the hoop to win games, as 22% shooting is far too low.
At the other end, the Hoiho defence was exceptional.
It held the Kahu quiet for large parts of the game, but guard Tahlia Tupaea took over late, dropping 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
Despite the loss, Hoiho coach Charles Nix felt it was an improvement on last Wednesday’s opening loss to the Mainland Pouakai.
"I thought our intensity and effort and defence was improved. We’ve got a few things we need to iron out offensively.
"But, in general, I can’t question their effort or their energy. Down the end we got some good shots that didn’t fall, and they got a few that went in. That’s the difference."
Nix said defence would be one of the team’s staples, having the ability to switch and players that could guard multiple position.
However, he admitted the Hoiho needed to be better offensively.
"I think we got some good looks, looks that might have dropped on Wednesday didn’t drop today.
"The reality of basketball is you’re not going to win many games if you’re only going to score 46 [points]. So we need to fix that."
The Hoiho shot out to a 6-0 lead on the back of three-pointers to Gallaher and Tori Dugan.
However, its offence dried up from there, as both teams’ defences locked in.
The Kahu took a while to respond, but took a 10-6 lead to quarter-time on the back of a pair of Tahlia Tupaea triples.
A well-executed set to start the second quarter, ending in star forward Laina Snyder (nine points) hitting from the left wing, got the Hoiho going again.
It sparked a 12-0 run, Gallaher again hitting from deep and the Hoiho finding ways to generate points inside against a physical Kahu defence.
The Kahu finally hit back late in the quarter, Krystal Leger-Walker finding her range, while it found its way to the line to make it 21-17 at halftime.
That evened up in the third quarter, which became tight through to the end, the Kahu taking a 32-31 lead to the final break.
Gallaher scored seven straight points for the Hoiho, before centre Shelby Cheslek fouled out, leaving the Hoiho without their inside defensive presence for the final seven minutes.
Perhaps that was the point when Cheslek’s value became apparent.
Without her rim protection the Kahu began getting to the hoop, drawing level, before Tupaea scored the visitors’ final eight points.
Gallaher hit a three-pointer, before drawing an unsportsmanlike foul to offer a glimmer of hope – but ultimately it was too late.
In the weekend’s other game the Tokomanawa Queens beat the Mid North Whai 82-78.
Tahlia Tupaea 23, Krystal Leger-Walker 9
Samara Gallaher 19, Laina Snyder 9
Quarter scores: 10-6, 17-21, 32-31.