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Systems overcome weak start

BASKETBALL

Will it be two in a row?

Defending men’s premier-grade club basketball champions SE Systems are through to Tuesday’s grand final, having beaten City Lights 56-54 at the YMCA on Tuesday night.

Systems won the 2v3 nail-biter on the mantra of offence winning games, defence winning championships.

Their younger brigade — principally Tyla Keelan-Phillips (14 points) and Ethan Ngarangione-Pearson (15pts) — rose to the occasion after SES had made what their veteran Reggie Namana described as “the worst start ever”.

The defending champions trailed by seven points in the first period while committing seven team fouls.

Namana said he and Rongomai Smith were in foul trouble and not scoring . . . their youngsters had to step up.

“Ethan led us offensively, shooting from the outside, to the hoop on the fast-break,” he said.

“Tyla had his best game ever, dominating the paint.

“We understand the importance of every possession and, despite our slow start to this game, we made sure we played hard defence and won quarters 2 to 4 on that. We’ll be ready for next week.”

While City Lights have missed out on a chance to play for it all against last year’s beaten finalists Green Up or a Gisborne Boys’ High School crew who have picked up their game since the Super 8 Tournament in early August, CL know that they were “in” this semi to the last possession.

Lights captain Scott Muncaster led their scorers with 22 points, his CL teammates Keenan Ruru-Poharama (12) and Paora Dewes (11) joining him in double-figures at the end of what has been a demanding season.

“It was a tight, keenly contested game with no easy baskets on offer,” Muncaster said.

“We had defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter — and it was then that Tyler won the game for them with put-backs and free-throws.

“I take my hat off to him.”

Men’s premier grade, YMCA —

Raiders 52 (Willie Brown 21, Zade Donner 10, Dom Wilson 9) Massive Marauders 52 (Adam Harford 16, Simon Wilson 14, Stefan Pishief 13) - Q1 Raiders 17-11, HT 29-25, Q3 Massive Marauders 42-41.

Semi-final 2 (2v3): SE Systems 56 (Ethan Ngarangione-Pearson 17, Tyler Phillips 14) City Lights 54 (Scott Muncaster 22, Keenan Ruru-Poharama 12, Paora Dewes 11) - Q1 City Lights 12-5, HT 25-21, 42-42.

Men’s Open B Grade, John McFarlane Memorial Sports Centre —

Gizzy Gilas 74 (Manny Boriga 20, Rudy Espellarga 16, Raphael Heria 13, Fernand Favi 10) Hawaiiki Hou 60 (Jayden Brown 14, JJ Andzue 10, Leon Edmonds 9, Hamuera Hauiti 8) - Q1 Gizzy Gilas 25-15, HT 38-26, Q3 58-39.

Semifinal 1 (1v4): Bibs 40 (Zorik Peneha 15, Tamati Horua 11, Allan Craig 9) Old Surfers 33 (Meihana Teneti 9, Micah Tapsell 8) - Q1 Bibs 11-7, HT 18-14, Q3 30-25.

Semifinal 2 (2v3): The Shed 35 (Ahi Te Hau-Otene 18, Kauri Coleman 11, Bronson Te Hau 6) Hustlers 55 (Fraser Robb 14, Eli Swann 13, Jesse Fowley 8) - Q1 Hustlers 9-6, HT 21-18, 34-28.