Lights out for city
It's hard to imagine a club basketball final without City Lights.
But the men's reigning A Grade champions will not defend their A Grade crown on Tuesday next week, having been beaten 70-49 by new entity Green Up in last night's 2 v 3 semifinal.
Green Up will meet the mighty SE Systems, who won the 1 v 4 clash with a gutsy Gisborne Boys' High School crew 45-37, in the grand final.
The top tier B Grade final next Tuesday will pit high-flyers Big Baller Brand against a host of big men in the Stefan Pishief-led Massive Marauders: the Marauders beat the Bumbles 76-45 in 1 v 4 — Marauders organiser and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti chief executive Pishief later paying tribute to Kahn Grayson's 30-point effort as a “golden game”.
The Brand beat Campion College 59-46 in 2 v 3, Campion's Allen Arnaldo bringing the house down with a 30-foot shot on fulltime.
Safin Tuwairua-Brown dominated the second tier 1 v 4 semi, dropping 30 points as his GBHS Juniors beat Lytton High School 90-53, while Old Surfers booked themselves into the second tier final courtesy of a 33-31 close shave v Gizzy Gilas in 2 v 3.
Veterans the Filthy Dozen beat Dialektric 63-39 — Robert Akuhata-Christy's Dialektric nonetheless playing their best hoops of the season — in the A Grade play-off for fifth. GBHS B won the B Grade tier crossover for ninth spot at the Backcourt Violators' expense 54-35.
City Lights captain Scott Muncaster might still be smarting from last night's loss but his team have experienced slings and arrows before, and will no doubt be back: “This was just one of those games, as with our semi against Uawa two years ago — they had their best game of the season, we had our worst, we couldn't buy a basket and they couldn't miss.”
GBHS kept close to Systems in their battle, with more of the courageous defensive play that has marked their season. There's no shame in being overwhelmed by a genuine titan — and a supremely skilful one at that — in SES' Thomas Tindale.
The teams in their respective grades will play the five finals (ladies' A Grade, men's A Grade at the YMCA - B Grade ladies, men's B Grade top tier and second tier at the John McFarlane Memorial Sports Centre) on Monday (ladies), September 21 and Tuesday (men), September 22, tip TBC.
Men's A Grade semifinals
B Grade fixture, top tier: 2 v 3: Big Baller Brand 59 (Olly Tilley 24, Carlos Pedraza 20) Campion College 46 (Eli Swann 14, Allen Arnaldo 10, Robert Fysh 8) Q1, BBB 14-6, Q2, 28-19, Q3, 52-23
Playoff for fifth: Filthy Dozen 63 (Willie Brown 23, Wi Brown 14) Dialektric 39 (Israel Kerisome 15, Gerry Kora 9) Q1, FD 18-7, Q2, 36-19, Q3, 50-25
1 v 4: SE Systems 45 (Thomas Tindale 15, Reg Namana 11) GBHS 37 (Ethan Ngarangione-Pearson 12) Q1, SES 14-10, Q2, 25-15 , Q3, 33-28
2 v 3: Green Up 70 (Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown 23, Psalm Taylor 17, Zade Donner 13) City Lights 49 (Carl Riini 12, Ryan Walters 8, Keenan Ruru-Poharama 8) Q1, GU 15-9, Q2, 28-18, Q3, 40-30
Men's B Grade semifinals
John McFarlane Memorial Sports Centre, Gisborne Boys' High School
Tier crossover, play-off for 9th: GBHS B 54 (Paku Wilson 19) Backcourt Violators 35 (Awhi Lewis 7, Mohi Gerrard 6) Q1, GBHS B 20-9, Q2, 36-17, Q3, 48-25
Second tier, 2 v 3: Old Surfers 33 (Zorik Peneha 16) Gizzy Gilas 31 (Ralph Heria 10, Nelson Brown 6) Q1, OS 10-3, Q2, 17-11, Q3, 23-20
Second tier, 1 v 4: GBHS Juniors 90 (Safin Tuwairua-Brown 27, Ngaru Grayson 17, Dominique Wilson 17, Te Uenuku Patea-Taylor 12) Lytton HS 53 (Caleb Poole 18, Royce Kaa 11) Q1, GBHS 18-13, Q2, 47-19, Q3, 78-32
Top tier, 1 v 4: Massive Marauders 76 (Kahn Grayson 30, Stefan Pishief 10) Bumbles 45 (Genesis Tamatea-Bartlett 18) Q1, Massive Marauders 14-10, Q2, 32-24, Q3, 48-32