Kahu cruise to final round win over Pouakai

MINOR premiers Northern Kahu capped off the remarkable inaugural 2022 Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa season with an impressive 13-point win over Mainland Pouakai last night. The Kahu were locked into top spot courtesy of their 9-2 season, but still managed to run out the final game strongly, overcoming an early headache to seize control of the match, and defeat the third place Pouakai in the last match of the regular Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa season. In a memorable clash, the Kahu picked up the win, 84-71 to have the perfect preparation ahead of next weekend’s finals series.

NORTHERN KAHU 18 | 22 | 29 | 15 (84)
MAINLAND POUAKAI 22 | 14 | 22 | 13 (71)

In a match up that could possibly be a grand final preview, the Northern Kahu reminded the competition of what they are capable of on their day, recording their 10th win of the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa season courtesy of a 13-point victory over Mainland Pouakai. Though as expected the home team started strongly at Eventfinda Stadium, the Pouakai turned it around in the next 10 minutes to go from a five-point deficit in the early stages of the opening term to a nine-point buffer midway through that second quarter.

At that point – the 5:23 mark of the second term – the Pouakai lead 31-22 and looked in control with Erin Whalen and Trinity Baptiste in control and looking dangerous. The next five minutes saw the Kahu piled on 18-5 and take a four-point lead into the break, with only some crucial plays late by Micaela Cocks and Tahlia Tupaea handing them their lead. Their momentum carried into the third term as the Kahu stretched the lead out to seven points, with the pairing of Whalen and Baptiste trying to keep the game within reach. Giving Cocks and Tupaea a chop out, Marte Grays stepped up for the Kahu, and the Kahu had build an 11-point lead at the final change.

In a low-scoring final 10 minutes, the Kahu scored the first eight points of the last term, as the usual suspects and Krystal Leger-Walker helped the ladder leaders to a 77-58 advantage. Baptiste scored the Pouakai’s first basket of the last term just over three minutes into the quarter, but it would be no good. Despite a late flurry of points from the Pouakai to reduce the damage, the visitors could not get over the line, and a late triple from Cocks in the final minute saw the scoreboard read 84-71.

Northern Kahu shot at a superior 46 to 42 per cent, and were able to make the most of their free throw chances, scoring 19 of 22, while the Pouakai shot 13 of 23. The ladder leaders also led the way in the assists (19-7), steals (10-9), blocks (4-2) and points in the paint (44-32), with less turnovers (13-17) also leading to more points from turnovers (21-14).

It was a triple threat from the Kahu as their three main scorers all piled on 20-plus points. Captain Cocks managed to score 22 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals, with Grays (22 points, ive rebounds) and Tupaea (21 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks) all standing out. Leger-Walker (six points, six assists, four steals and two rebounds) and Gabriella Adams-Gavet (eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocks) also contributed. Baptiste ended her day with a double-double of 18 points and 11 boards to close out her season, while Whalen helped herself to 19 points and four rebounds.

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