THOUGH a top against bottom clash, the Round 3 battle between the unbeaten Northern Kahu and winless Southern Hoiho went down to the wire. The Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Friday night contest at Eventfinda Stadium went both ways at times, with the 0-4 Hoiho taking it right up to the 4-0 Kahu on their home deck, but a one-sided second term set it up for Kahu to notch another win on the belt, 81-76.
NORTHERN KAHU 15 | 23 | 22 | 21 (81)
SOUTHERN HOIHO 17 | 14 | 20 | 25 (76)
Southern Hoiho were yet to pick up a win in the first couple of rounds of the New Zealand women’s basketball season, and had the daunting Round 3 task of trying to take down the unrelenting Northern Kahu. The home side had not crushed opponents consistently, but done enough to cement itself as the team to beat, while the Hoiho had not fired a shot despite some impressive efforts.
Tipping off this match, it was the Hoiho that got the jump on their opponents, taking a two-point lead into the first break following a 17-15 quarter. The defensive pressure shown by the southern side was quite impressive, reducing the amount of open shots and forcing turnovers from the Kahu. Stepping up early, Laina Snyder was a beacon of hope for the visitors, almost exclusively doing the scoring, whilst the Kahu saw Tahlia Tupaea make some early shots and race to seven points in the opening term.
It looked liked the Hoiho might be in for the upset early in the second as they extended the lead out to six points, only for the Kahu to pile on 13 consecutive points, and hold a seven-point advantage at half-time. Ashleigh Kelman-Poto was building nicely for Kahu, taking over from Tupaea, as the home team also ran at 50 per cent beyond the arc in the second term, while Snyder (18 first half points) was a one-person scoring machine.
That seven-point lead grew to 13 throughout the third term, going up to 56-43 with two minutes to play. A late couple of baskets from Snyder and Zoe Richards reduced it to nine points at the final break, but still with all to do. The first five points went the way of the Hoiho before Madison Wolf put a stop to the run by Samara Gallaher and Olivia O’Neill. Wolf, Kelman-Poto and Micaela Cocks kept the Hoiho at arms-length throughout the first half of the final quarter.
The Hoiho came again and closed the game to three points with two and a half on the clock, and then again to two points via a Richards triple. That celebration would only last a short time, as Cocks dominated the final term to respond with a long-range basket, and ensure the Kahu did enough come away with the narrow 81-76 win despite the fourth quarter going the way of the Hoiho, 25-21.
It was a team effort from the Kahu, with Cocks pouring on 22 points, and picking up four assists, two rebounds and two steals in the win, as Wolf managed a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tupaea (14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals was busy, as Kelman-Poto came off the bench to contribute 13 points and six rebounds. Snyder did all the scoring for the Hoiho to be the best on the court thanks to her 32 points – including three of six from long-range – eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. Shelby Cheslek had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Richards played 24 minutes for nine points and eight rebounds.
Northern Kahu next face the Mid-North Whai on Tuesday, July 19, while Southern Hoiho lock horns with Tokomanawa Queens the following night.