Pouakai pounce in second quarter blitz

IT is not a familiar sight to see a basketball side only win one out of four quarters and still take home the points, but that is exactly what the Mainland Pouakai did against Tokomanawa Queens when they won by three points last night. Taking to the court in Round 3 of the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa at TSB Arena, the Pouakai looked good in the second term – winning it 18-10 – to take a six-point lead into half-time. Though the visiting side had lost the first term – and the subsequent next two quarters – the Pouakai still finished on top, recording a nail-biting 69-66 victory.

TOKOMANAWA QUEENS 19 | 10 | 15 | 22 (66)
MAINLAND POUAKAI 17 | 18 | 14 | 20 (69)

In one of the more strangest games, the margin never hit double-digits at any point in the match. Both sides had picked up two wins thus far from the opening two rounds, and sat at an even keel of 2-2. The Tokomanawa Queens were known as a high-scoring side, whilst the Mainland Pouakai were best known for defensive attributes. It was the visitors who got away to a fast start, leading by five points before the Queens had put a score on the board. The home team eventually worked its way back into the lead, out to as much as a five-point differential themselves, before holding a two-point advantage at the first break.

The second term changed everything, even if the teams did not know it at the time. Once again the Queens started strongly, building that five-point buffer, only for the Pouakai to grab it back and then, thanks to an 18-10 quarter, hold a six-point lead at the break. From that point on, the visitors managed to hold the Queens at arms-length, but could never quite put them away. Tokomanawa cut it back to three points midway through the third quarter, and had reduced the deficit to five points by the final break.

Then in the last term, they even got it back to square on a number of occasions, with Florencia Chagas‘ driving layup with 78 seconds on the clock making the scores 64 points apiece. Back-to-back succesful free throw attempts to Trinity Baptiste gave the Pouakai a four-point buffer with nine seconds on the clock. Tokomanawa raced the ball up with Jamie Nared nailing a layup with two seconds on the clock, but the deficit was still two. An immediate foul sent Tessa Boagni to the line, where she made one of two. The second bounced off, which was pulled in by Elin Gustavsson, but the time had expired and the Queens had to settle for the narrow defeat.

Nared was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) despite being on the losing team. She hit 24 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in the loss, with Gustavsson (12 points, nine rebounds and three steals) and Chagas (10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals) both impressive. Jacinta Beckley came off the bench for 10 points, two rebounds and two assists. For the winners, Baptiste was simply sensational for the Pouakai, as she nailed 10 of 14 from the field on her way to 27 points and seven rebounds. Boagni (13 points, seven rebounds and two steals) and Gabriella Fotu (10 points, four rebounds) were both handy, as Mary Goulding and Erin Whalen only shot at a combined three of 21 from the field, but amassed 14 rebounds.

Mainland Pouakai next front up on July 17 to take on the Whai, while the Tokomanawa Queens will clash with the Southern Hoiho on July 20.

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