An outstanding shooting performance from Alyssa Hirawani propelled Waikato Wizards to an emphatic 101-50 home win against Tauranga City Coasters in the third round of the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) on Saturday.
The 2016 Junior Tall Fern connected with 7 of her 11 (63%) three-point attempts as she amassed 48 points. The total is thought to be a record single game record for the Wizards. For good measure Hirawani also posted 13 rebounds and garnered 8 steals in a complete performance.
Tall Fern Charlisse Leger-Walker was also in good form posting 20 points and 10 assists. Her St Peter’s School teammate Ella Bradley also came within a whisker of a double-double registering 9 points and 9 rebounds.
The Coasters found themselves 28-10 behind at the end of the first quarter and 53-25 at half-time.
Makayla Daysh (23 points and 17 rebounds) was immense for the Coasters and she led something of a revival in the third stanza before the hosts pulled further away in the closing stages.
Waikato Wizards 101 (A Hirawani 48, C Leger-Walker 20, E Bradley 9, K Lewis 9)
Tauranga City Coasters 50 (M Daysh 23, C Wilson 7, K Morrell 6, B Rogers 6)
In the other game of the weekend Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons comfortably accounted for Auckland Dream 61- 46. The Dream had a poor shooting night making just 3 from 26 (12%) three-point attempts. In contrast the Cannons were an efficient 42% (5/12) from beyond the arc.
Arielle Parai (17 points and 9 rebounds), the competitions leading scorer, made two early baskets as the Cannons opened up a 10-1 advantage. Hailey Moala (13 points and 8 rebounds) scored the first basket from the floor for the Dream but a corner three from Raearna Parai propelled the Cannons to an 18-5 quarter time lead.
A floater as the shot clock expired from Bayley Ross-Waitai (19 points) began second quarter proceedings, followed shortly after by a neat dish from Parai for a Freda Riwai (8 points and 11 rebounds) finish.
Dream guard Shauna Povey connected with a long three but it was meager pickings for the home side as they fell behind 22-9.
Yzabelle Tevao took the Dream score into double figures but another Ross-Waitai basket prompted a timeout from Dream coach Aik Ho.
Rionne Papa scored on the resumption but it was the Cannons firing all the shots leading 30-17 at half-time.
Dream point guard Amanda Buck opened the second half scoring followed by back to back baskets from Moala as the Cannons advantage was trimmed to ten points (33-23).
From there Ross-Waitai took control, the shooting guard landed three triples in quick succession as the Cannons re-established control to lead 52-31 at three-quarter time.
Buck landed a triple and Idaho Purcell a pair of jump shots as the Dream had the better of the final period but the Cannons lead was never threatened as they improved their record for the season to 3-1. The Dream slipped to 2-2.
Cannons coach Tyler Wilkinson wasn’t entirely content with her team’s performance.
“I was happy with the win but there is plenty for us to go and work on and I’m sure it is the same for Auckland."
“We all want to showcase women’s basketball so it is the responsibility of the coaches and the players to give their best all the time. In patches there were some beautiful phases of play but there was also a good deal of inconsistency.”
Wilkinson was certainly pleased that the Waikato teams hold the top two places on the WBC ladder at this stage of the season but also reflected on the bigger picture.
“We are happy for the Waikato region, we support them and they support us. We want the WBC to get stronger as we are trying to build the basketball programme in New Zealand - we want our girl’s to go to the Olympics. When coaches are spoilt for choices we will be in a good place."
Auckland Dream 46 (I Purcell 13, H Moala 13)
Power Chill Waikato Country Cannons 61 (B Ross-Waitai 19, A Parai 17, D Fermanis 8)
4-0 Waikato Wizards
3-1 Power Chill Country Cannons
2-1 Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats
2-2 Auckland Dream
1-2 Harbour Breeze, Taranaki Thunder, Otago Gold Rush
0-4 Tauranga City Coasters
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