Porirua pipped in U-21 final
Porirua women’s basketball reigns supreme in the region, despite a tough finals loss to North Harbour.
Te Rauparaha Arena hosted Basketball New Zealand’s under21 national championships over May 16-19, with Porirua women shooting through pool play and toppling Hutt Valley 63-57 in the semifinals.
That saw coach Pene Hippolite’s Porirua team competing against a strong North Harbour side in the final. Though up by six points at the half, Porirua couldn’t hold on to the lead, losing 78-72.
Porirua’s promising star Josie Stockill top-scored in the game with a resilient 22 points – just another of her top-rating performances.
Assistant coach Deslea Wrathall described Stockill as ‘‘ a great kid’’, as well as a phenomenal person and a great scholar.
She will travel to the United States next year after accepting a university basketball scholarship at New York State.
Shanice Swain and Laykin Bishop-paenga, of Porirua, were also named in the tournament team, with North Harbour’s Deena Franklin earning the most valuable player award.
North Harbour was also represented in the men’s final as their Isaac Fotu-featuring team faced off against Wellington’s Steve Adams-wielding black-and-gold.
Fotu, a young Tall Black, was limited to four points by NBA prospect Adams, who demonstrated his defensive potential at the age-group tournament.
Wellington and Harbour were matched for shooting in the deadlocked final with the teams trading 3- point shots as they battled to a tie at the end of regular time.
In overtime, Wellington showed composure as they edged ahead, and Adams sealed the locals’ victory with an emphatic block on Fotu – with 10 seconds remaining – that caused the 500- strong crowd to erupt as the clock ran down to a final score of 84-81.
Adams was named MVP, and was joined by Porirua’s Jordan Ngatai in the tournament team.
‘‘It doesn’t get any better than this,’’ Porirua Basketball’s Voldi Simi said during the prizegiving ceremony.
‘‘This is why we do this – it’s the game we love.’’
Elite basketball returns to Porirua in September when Te Rauparaha Arena hosts a transTasman tournament featuring the Junior Tall Blacks and Junior Tall Ferns.
Air time: A North Harbour forward climbs high against Wellington in the men’s final. Fine form: Porirua’s Josie Stockill was a star attraction at the tournament. She will play basketball for a US college next year.