TOKOMANAWA Queens have struck late to secure an important six-point win over Mid-North Whai, their fourth straight victory in the Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa. The Queens were able to move to outright second with the win ahead of the final round, and are well placed for a top two finish. In a topsy-turvy game, both sides had their chances to win, but a 19-15 final term just secured the victory for the Queens at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre on Sunday evening.
MID-NORTH WHAI 16 | 13 | 15 | 15 (59)
TOKOMANAWA QUEENS 16 | 19 | 11 | 19 (65)
Tokomanawa Queens came into the clash against Mid-North Whai with a three-game winning streak, including toppling the previously undefeated Northern Kahu. They were strong favourites in a game against a Whai side that was more than capable, but had not quite got reward for effort in season 2022, heading into the contest with a 4-5 record from nine games. Neither side could really make an advantage early with 16 points apiece heading into quarter time. It was the second term where the visitors started to get going, and gained some scoreboard separation.
The Queens piled on 19 points to 13 in the second term to open up a six-point lead at half-time, as the usual suspects in Jamie Nared and Florencia Chagas were getting it done. The Whai introduced import Jori Davis came off the bench to have an impact – albeit a little shaky when trying to share the rock around on offence – while Sheniqua Greene was dominating off the boards for the home team. At half-time, the score read 35-29 and the favourites had the upper hand.
The third term saw the momentum swing back the other way, and the Whai built a lead out to as much as five points, looking to come home strong. Luckily for the Queens, they steadied before it got any worse, and actually scrapped to take a two-point lead into the final break. That was what was required to win, as though the Whai did temporarily take back the lead early in the fourth term, the Queens stormed home with 19 points to 15 in the final stanza to run out 65-59 victors.
Despite the loss, the Whai shot at a higher clip of 38 to 34 per cent, though neither team was particularly effective in that aspect of the game, leading to the low scoring. The home team also won the rebounds (42-35) and the blocks (4-2), taking control in the paint (36-26). For the Queens, they had far less turnovers (17-24), which was a key difference in the end by punishing the Whai with 27 points to 17 off turnovers. They also won the assists (14-10) and steals (13-11).
Nared lead all-comers in the win, as she scored 20 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, partnering well with Chagas (13 points, six steals, four rebounds and two assists). Jacinta Beckley came off the bench to score 11 points in 23 minutes, but it was otherwise slim pickings with only Elin Gustavsson‘s four of six from the field yielding a field goal percentage above 40. Greene helped herself to 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Whai, as Kyra Lambert top scored for her team with 14 points, as well as five rebounds, five steals and four assists. Sharne Robati managed the 12 points and four rebounds, while Davis had 10 points, two rebounds and two assists, but also eight turnovers on debut.
Tokomanawa Queens host Northern Kahu on Thursday, August 18 to close out the regular season for the Queens, while Mid-North Whai have two games remaining in Round 7, taking on Mainland Pouakai and Southern Hoiho on August 19 and 21 respectively.