AFTER breaking all sorts of scoring records in their last match, Mid-North Whai came crashing back to earth against an undefeated Northern Kahu side, with the visitors winning by 16 points in a low-scoring contest. The Whai broke the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa total score (99), individual quarter score (41) and the most triples by an individual – Tiarna Clarke – last match, but were limited to just 45 for the 40 minutes against the Kahu last night. Despite leading at half-time, the Whai could not match it with the unbeaten Kahu in the second half, and the visitors came away with a 61-45 victory at Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre.
WHAI 8 | 21 | 10 | 6 (45)
KAHU 11 | 14 | 19 | 17 (61)
Northern Kahu remained undefeated from their fifth game, and advanced two wins clear of the rest of the competition in the process thanks to the 16-point victory over second placed Whai. Showcasing their superb defence, the Kahu only had one quarter where they conceded more than 10 points, keeping the dominant scoring team to just 45 total points in what could be a grand final preview. They also restricted the red-hot Clarke to 11 points – and only one of seven from long-range – and the rest of the team to single-digits.
Kahu started off with a tight lead, up by three points at quarter time, before the Whai got going piling on 21 points to 14 in the second term to take a four-point lead into half-time. From that point on, it was all the visitors who put up 36 points to 16 and ran away with the victory thanks to making the most of their chances off turnovers (18 points to five). Neither side was able to get too many effective looks, shooting at just 31 and 25 per cent in the Kahu’s favour, though the winners did lead in the assists (11-8) and had less turnovers (12-17), while the Whai were ahead in the rebounds (48-44) and blocks (5-2).
Though a lo-scoring affair, the Kahu did manage four players recording double-figure points, headlined by Tahlia Tupaea‘s 15 points, four assists and two steals. She was well supported by those contributing off the boards such as Krystal Leger-Walker (13 points, five rebounds and five steals), Micaela Cocks (12 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Madison Wolf (10 points, seven rebounds and two assists). Coming off the bench, Akiene-Tera Reed (seven points, five rebounds) was only bested by Whai’s Kendell Heremaia (nine points) from the non-starters.
Fro the Whai, Clarke’s 11 points was the most of any player, as Kyra Lambert misfired with a poor one from 13 from the field for four points, though pulled down 11 rebounds. Sharne Robati (seven points, nine rebounds), Esra McGoldrick (seven points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks) and Sheniqua Greene (seven points, nine rebounds and three steals) also tried hard despite single digit points.
Northern Kahu’s next opponent is the third placed Mainland Pouakai on July 23, with the Whai locking horns with the winless Southern Hoiho on July 24.