Whai end regular season with win

AFTER being the only side to go down to Southern Hoiho during the season, the Mid-North Whai set the record straight in the final round, defeating the wooden spooners ahead of an important finals series. The Whai were on the back foot in the middle of the game, but steadied to run out 10-point victors courtesy of a 17-6 final stanza. Though not pretty, the home team just got it done 63-53, to prepare for a date with minor premiers Northern Kahu next weekend.

MID-NORTH WHAI 15 | 14 | 17 | 17 (63)
SOUTHERN HOIHO 13 | 19 | 15 | 6 (53)

The Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa Round 7 came to a close, and with it meant the last game for the Southern Hoiho, while for the Mid-North Whai there is at least one more chapter left in their 2022 season. Having won their last head-to-head matchup, the Hoiho enjoyed their only victory of the regular season, but knew it would be tough to it again at the Whai’s home court of Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre. In what turned out to be a momentum-swinging contest, it was never settled until the last quarter when the home team finished the stronger of the two to record a 10-point win.

Prior to that, they had taken a two-point lead into the first break, only for the Hoiho to race back into the pole position credit to their 19-14 second term. No doubt fans at the court were starting to flashback to the upset result not too long ago, but the Whai fan base at least knew fourth spot was locked in. The Whai stepped up in the third to regain some ascendancy, though for the most part, the teams just traded baskets. The game to that point had been largely played within a five-point margin for both sides, with a game-high of seven. As they headed for the home straight, the Hoiho held a narrow one-point advantage.

After scoring the first two points of the final term through Laina Snyder, the Hoiho lead 49-46. That enjoyment would not last long as the Whai piled on the next 11 points over six minutes, and the visitor’s scoring completely dried up. It was once again a team effort with Sheniqua Greene, Esra McGoldrick and Sharne Robati all busy, as the Hoiho would score just four more points – including a last second layup off a steal – to go down by double-digits, 53-63.

The Whai led the rebounds (48-45) and assists (16-14) as well as had more points in the paint (26-22) and second chance points (13-7). They shot at a higher clip from inside the arc (38 to 36 per cent) but struggled from range, recording just 18 per cent efficiency. Both sides shot with a lowly 31 per cent field goal percentage, as the Hoiho did record an additional three-pointer (5-4) and steal (8-7), but were otherwise beaten across the board to close out their season.

Two Whai players picked up double-doubles as McGoldrick (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Greene (10 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) were both dominant off the boards. Robati also contributed with 14 points, six rebounds and two assists in the win. For the Hoiho, they had two main scorers with Snyder being the best-on comfortably thanks to her 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Samara Gallaher finished with 13 points and four rebounds in the loss.

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