Queens hold on against fast-finishing Whai

AFTER surviving a comeback from Whai, Tokomanawa Queens have recorded a nail-biting four-point win to open their Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa season. The Queens raced out to an 18-point quarter time lead, before Whai clicked into gear. The victors hit back hard late in the match, winning both the second and fourth terms, but ultimately falling short at Te Rauparaha Arena, 82-78.

The home side piled on 31 points to 13 in the opening quarter to race out an 18-point lead, then stretched that to 20 early in the second quarter. Whai started to make inroads into that lead in the second term, even getting to within seven points with two and a half minutes on the clock. At that stage, the Whai had scored 21 points to 10 to looked every chance of grabbing the lead. But six of the last eight points went back to the Queens and the home side entered the half-time break with an 11-point buffer.

Neither team could be split in the third term as the Queens had the best rub of the green through the first half of the quarter, again holding a 20-point lead. But the Whai came yet again, putting it right back to 11 at the last change with an impressive charge in the last few minutes. The final term saw some nervous tension and good defensive efforts over the first few minutes, before Whai’s scoring kicked in and they made a real charge for the win. They cut the lead to as little as five points with 46 seconds on the clock to give themselves a sniff, but a steadying couple of free throws from the home side, steadied the Queens. The Whai did score the last three points of the match, but it was solemn comfort during the four-point defeat.

The Queens scored at a 41 per cent clip, with Whai recording a lower 33 per cent. Across the board the Queens were more efficient, having 18 less attempts, most of which were from beyond the arc with seven of 20 (35 per cent) for the Queens from long-range, compared to nine fo 36 (25 per cent) for the Whai. It was no surprise generating so many shots that the Whai had more assists (13-12), as well as more steals (10-8) and blocks (2-1), as well as controlling the points in the paint (32-26), and second chance points (18-9). They committed three less turnovers (15-18) and had double the amount of points from turnovers (20-10) in the win.

Florencia Chagas made a memorable debut for the Queens, scoring 22 points – seven of 22 from the field – eight rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Elin Gustavsson was even more efficient, shooting 20 points at 64 per cent, picking up nine rebounds and only having the one turnover. Stella Beck (17 points, seven rebounds and five assists) also influence the contest for the winners. The Whai had four players who reached double-figure points with Sheniqua Greene picking up a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Sharne Robati (17 points, six rebounds) topscored in the loss. Kyra Lambert and Dominique McBryde both had 15 points and combined for 10 rebounds, seven steals and four assists.

The Queens taking on Northern Kahu tomorrow, while the Whai lock horns with Mainland Pouakai on Tuesday.

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