U19 and U23 NZ Age Group Championships results - Day 1
U19 and U23 NZ Age Group Championships results
Monday 15 July
South post two wins on opening day!
Severe weather conditions in the Capital delayed the arrival of many teams which resulted in a reshuffle of the draw on the opening day of the annual U23 and U19 NZ Age Group Championships on Monday.
With team’s still arriving into a bitterly cold and windswept Wellington during the morning on the opening day of competition, all apart from one game was finally completed in an extended first day.
South concluded a successful day when notching two wins, the only one of the U23 teams to play twice on the opening day, when downing a strong Northern 1 48-46. That followed their earlier and more comfortable 60-37 win against Northern 2.
South’s defensive line of Hayley Crofts (centre), Stacey Peters (wing defence), Phoenix Karaka (goal defence) and Storm Purvis (goalkeeper) did a fine job of knocking the momentum out of Northern’s flair on attack.
The more accurate southerners grew in confidence to hold the upper hand through much of the match and several times marched out to handy leads but were often let down by a high error count.
Northern failed to make the most of their opportunities, the athletic and skilful shooter Malia Paseka showing her natural talent under the hoop but unable to nail the vital shots.
``We made it a bit hard for ourselves but it was good to get away with that in the end,’’ South captain Gina Crampton said.
``The error rate was high and we just really need to look after the ball and our turnovers and have a look at that ahead of our next game.’’
Mainland, able to boost ANZ Championship players Sophia Fenwick, Kirsten Hurley and Jane Watson in each third of the court, showcased their attributes to crack the highest score of the day when outclassing Waikato Bay of Plenty 2, 75-47.
The more experienced Mainlanders gradually broke free after an even start to forge a handy lead which they built on throughout the game. The tall shooting pair of Fenwick and Elizabeth Hayman was a strong presence in the Mainland circle, the pair’s height advantage giving them the upper hand under the hoop.
At the other end, captain Watson and fellow tall timber Moneik van Rossum nabbed plenty of turnover ball on defence in adding their contribution to a mounting score.
Changing their line-up for the second half did little to change Mainland’s dominance as they completed most phases in style. Waikato Bay of Plenty shooting duo Tamsin Moala and Tayla Blanchard impressed with their positional play but had a hard day at the office against their physically imposing opposites.
``It was a good start and nice to get a good win under our belt first-up,’’ Watson said.
``We just need to step it up a bit now and lift the intensity. We’re a new side so there’s probably still a little to work on combination-wise as well.’’
The talented Waikato Bay of Plenty 1, flush with a four-strong ANZ Championship representation from the Kia Magic team, exploded into life with a strong second half to account for the Central Zone 69-49.
The teams level-pegged during the first half which produced plenty of endeavour but was blighted by a high turnover count. Waikato Bay of Plenty took control in the second half, turning a narrow one-goal lead into a handsome 20-goal win by game’s end.
Waikato Bay of Plenty enjoyed the luxury of giving all their squad game-time where livewire midcourters Samantha Sinclair and Nadia Loveday impressed along with the slick and accurate play of shooters Brooke Leaver, daughter of former Silver Fern Leonie Leaver, and Harley Smith.
Leaver completed an excellent return from under the hoop, converting 44 of her 48 attempts for a 92 percent success rate.
Goalkeeper and captain Erena Mikaere, the tallest player on court, pulled in a string of second half rebound ball as the Central shooters went off the boil, was happy to just be playing after spending most of the season on the bench for Kia Magic.
``I’m just happy to be out there playing,’’ she said. ``I thought it was a good first-up effort from our girls after a slow start.
``I’m excited, I think we’ve got a good team and that we can do some damage in this competition.’’
Seven teams are contesting the U23 competition which is replacing the NZU21 Age Group Championship in a bid to bridge the gap between club, age group and secondary school level.
In the U19 competition which is split into four pools, Manawatu, North Harbour and Eastern Waikato recorded two wins apiece on the opening day to be handily placed.