Porirua pipped in U-21 final

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By JAMES GREEN­LAND

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.

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