Hoiho take positives from opening-round loss to Pouakai

Hoiho player Shelby Cheslek (right) is challenged by Pouakai’s Trinity Baptiste during their...
Hoiho player Shelby Cheslek (right) is challenged by Pouakai’s Trinity Baptiste during their Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa clash in Christchurch last night. PHOTO: KAI SCHWOERER
Let the record show Laina Snyder scored the opening points in the inaugural season of Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa.

On a historic night for women’s basketball in New Zealand, the Southern Hoiho forward nailed a mid-ranger jumper to get the visiting side off to a useful start in Christchurch.

The Mainland Pouakai slipped behind early, but its speed in transition and perimeter defence helped it post a 73-63 victory.

The new five-team league lived up to the hype. It was a vast step up on the previous league.

The pace, accuracy and skill on display made for compelling viewing.

Snyder was one of the best on court. The American import followed up her opening shot with a game-high haul of 32 points as well as 10 rebounds.

With a bit more scoring support from her team-mates, the result may have been different.

Snyder felt it was a good first outing despite the result.

"Coming in we just wanted to represent the region and put in a good showing," she told the Sky Sport commentary team.

"Tonight was the first night we had our whole squad together, so we’re taking the pieces that we had tonight and working with them.

"We have something to work with now.

"We know where we are going and we are heading in the right direction."

Pouakai import Erin Whalen matched Snyder’s skill with a formidable performance of her own. She stuffed in 15 points.

Tessa Boagni and Mary Goulding netted 16 apiece. Boagni also grabbed 11 boards in a dominant effort under the hoop.

The Hoiho capitalised on some early errors from the Pouakai to open up a 7-2 lead. Samara Gallaher hit a nice three-pointer from the corner and Snyder hit top gear from tip off.

But Whalen can play too. The American drove to the basket for a couple of lay-ups to get the score moving for her side.

Sprinkle in some timely three-pointers from Goulding and Tessa Morrison, and some strong rebounding from Boagni, and you have a recipe for a solid 39-26 halftime lead.

The Hoiho needed a good start to the third quarter. Olivia O’Neill found the middle of the hoop to net three points. Zoe Richards hit from range as well.

They all count, but so did the lay-ups the Pouakai were managing down the other end.

But Hoiho were reeling in their opponent slowly. The deficit disappeared in increments.

It trailed 56-49 with 10 minutes to go and it all to play for.

The Pouakai double and even triple teamed Snyder to help snuff out the Hoiho’s main scoring threat.

The dent the Hoiho had put in the lead got buffed out with a late scoring spree.

Tauihi

The scores

Pouakai 73

Tessa Boagni 16, Mary Goulding 16

Hoiho 63

Laina Snyder 32

Quarter scores: 21-15, 39-26 (18-11), 56-49 (17-23), 73-63 (17-14).

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