A STARRING second half performance of 56 points to 34 has resulted in the Tokomanawa Queens securing their place in the 2022 Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Grand Final. The Queens knocked off Mainland Pouakai by 24 points, storming to victory off the back of an international trio. Though the Pouakai – who have caused headaches for the Queens at times this season – were able to bounce back from a poor start to only trail by two points at half-time, it would not be enough to pick up the win, with the Queens securing the 92-68 victory.
TOKOMANAWA QUEENS 23 | 13 | 34 | 22 (92)
MAINLAND POUAKAI 11 | 23 | 17 | 17 (68)
Tokomanawa Queens managed to lock up second spot with an important win in the last round as the Mainland Pouakai settled for third spot. Given the Pouakai has been able to cause upsets against the Queens throughout the season, this was far from a given for the Queens who were determined to have another crack at the Northern Kahu. In a classic match at Trafalgar Centre, the first half was a tale of two quarters, before it really opened up in the second half and the cream rose to the top.
Tokomanawa Queens lead for nearly the entire game outside a short stint in the first term, as the Pouakai had their moments, and even levelled the game late in the second term, but could not maintain the rage enough to get over the line. Instead, the first half saw the Queens race out to a 23-11 lead at quarter time off the back of some nice plays. In turn, the Pouakai responded with a 23-13 term of their own to cut the half-time deficit to just two points. Neither side was willing to give an inch in the first half, but that soon changed in the second half.
The Queens piled on 34 points to 17 in the third term, doubling the Pouakai’s score as they proved too potent for the underdogs. With the margin out to 19 with just 10 minutes to play, the result was effectively known by the last term, though the Queens were not taking any chances. They kept the foot down to win the fourth quarter by five – 22 to 17 – and while it did get out beyond 30 points, the Pouakai nailed some consolation baskets to dial it back to 24 points, 92-68.
Tokomanawa Queens won all the key statistics, shooting at a far higher clip of 49 to 38 per cent, despite only having two more attempts. They drained 50 per cent of their shots from inside the arc, as the Pouakai made 37 per cent, and also picked up a 47 per cent three-point shooting efficiency. Tokomanawa had more rebounds (41-36), assists (18-11), steals (18-11) and blocks (7-1), while less turnovers (15-22) allowed for more points from turnovers (20-12). One of the biggest points differentials came in the paint, with the Queens scoring 42 to 16. Mainland Pouakai only won the second chance points (11-7).
It was a trio of dominant scorers for the Queens, as imports Florencia Chagas (22 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Jamie Nared (21 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals) went to work. Tall Black Stella Beck picked up 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six steals and two blocks in a remarkable all-round performance, while Elin Gustavsson (10 points, four steals) and Parris Mason (nine points, eight rebounds and three assists) were both busy. For the Pouakai, Jailin Cherry (18 points, five rebounds and two steals), Lauryn Hippolite (16 points, two rebounds) and Erin Whalen (13 points, four rebounds and three assists) all tried hard in the loss.
Tokomanawa Queens now face top of the table Northern Kahu – a side the Queens have beaten in their last two encounters – to decide the 2022 Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa title.