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Intensity of new basketball format is the difference

BASKETBALL by Ben O’Brien-Leaf

MANY things are different between Gisborne basketball’s club competition and the new Draft League.

But the speed of the game in the new format, its physicality, quick decision-making and sheer athletic endeavour can be summed up in one word: intensity.

Last week Team Tom beat Team Keenan 84-81 and Team Reg beat Team Adrian 78-63.

Tonight’s 1v4 semifinal will pit Team Reg against Team Adrian at 5.30pm with Team Tom to take on Team Keenan at 7pm.

Team Tom’s shooters fired up against Team Keenan last Tuesday, Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown putting up 38 points alongside Scott Muncaster (18) and Zade Donner (12).

For Team Adrian, Sebastian Wilson (13) and Ryan Walters (12) competed hard at both ends of the court.

Reggie Namana, coach of an unbeaten unit in Team Reg, said: “We were getting the shots we created from our defence but we weren’t capitalising on them and took a while to wake up. It wasn’t until the last quarter that we finally started making shots — we finished the game with a 19-point turnaround.”

The players in Adrian Sparks’s Team Adrian showed real courage, staying with their more experienced opposition to the end of the first period, tied at 19-19, and taking a 37-31 lead into halftime. Heading down the home stretch, Sparks’s men clung to a 51-49 advantage.

The game’s best individual plays included Sparks guard Ethan Ngarangione-Pearson’s spectacular end-to-end lay-up for 14-6 and whippet Daley Riri’s coast-to-coast effort for Team Reg to close it to 25-22.

With three minutes 55 seconds to halftime, Ngarangione-Pearson made the defensive play of 2021.

Razor-sharp Team Reg guard Holden Wilson stole the ball from Ngarangione-Pearson at halfway and got ahead of the left-hander to lay the ball in. But Ngarangione-Pearson would not give up on the play: he chased Wilson, timed his leap and tipped the shot to the right side of the backboard.

Walters shot the ball superbly for Team Adrian and his drive move in traffic to make an up-and-under, reverse lay-up for the last points of the game was a candidate for the finish of the week.

If ever a young player has gone from strength to strength in the space of a year, it’s Seth Miller.

And far from being intimidated by the Draft League and new teammates, the Gisborne Boys’ High School guard has shot the ball with composure and in rhythm.

He hit six three-point shots in his 22-point haul for Team Keenan against Team Tom.

The 84-81 victory to Team Tom rested largely in the hands of Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown, whose epic offence shone like a beacon at the YMCA. He scored in every conceivable way for 38 points.

Coach Thomas Tindale’s savvy team were in front 27-22, 50-45 and 71-64 from go to whoa but they were made to work hard to keep their heads above water.

Miller emerged as a real threat with the outside shot.

Tindale said: “It was a win by committee for us and we had a lot of players contribute in one way or another.

“Scotty Muncaster and Carl Riini showed a lot of leadership, Cody Tarei is starting to show more aggression with the ball, Jayrus Rutene is getting to the hoop and finishing, Tyrese is able to score at will and Zade is one of the better two-way players in the league.

“We have bench players who are able to adjust to fill a role.”