Written by Mike Lacey - Courtesy of www.laceylowdown.com
Round five of the Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam saw wins for Birdmen and 68A Nelson Street in the Men’s competition, with Suns and Sky grabbing the victories in the women’s competition.
Nelson Street, with five players scoring double figures, led from start to finish against Breakers Development.
With Derone Raukawa (35 points) once again in good scoring touch Nelson Street were quickly out to a 30-20 lead in the opening period.
Twenty first half points from Mitch Dance kept Breakers in touch but the greater scoring productivity of Johnny Fesolai, Ana Haku and Mitch Newton propelled Nelson Street to a 53-38 lead at half-time.
Threes from Thomas Whyte, Harry Payne and Kruz Perrott-Hunt were of little consequence as Nelson Street dominated the second half to run out easy winners.
Nelson Street 111 – Raukawa 35, Haku 24, Fesolai 20, Newton 18, Jayden Boucher 11
Breakers Development 72 –Dance 24, Langridge 14, Payne 11, Perrott-Hunt 9, Te Puni 8
Aided by a 36 points haul from Kevin Braswell, Birdmen with a strong fourth quarter finish beat Railsplitters 123-113.
Railsplitters got off to a good start courtesy of Hayden Allen and Jaylen Gerrand to lead by three points (36-33) in a high scoring opening frame.
The same two players, along with Sam Aruwa, landed triples in the second but 15 points in the period from Braswell gave Birdmen a 64-61 edge at the interval.
Railsplitters chances were dealt a blow in the third with Allen forced to retire with an ankle injury although 10 points in the quarter from James Hunter ensured Railsplitters only trailed by a point (87-86) at the last break.
Triples from Brayden Inger, Matt Lacey and Braswell sprung Birdmen into a 113-104 lead with four minutes to play. Gerrand piled in 17 fourth quarter points but TInashe Matambanadzo, Nick Barrow and Braswell ensured Birdmen remained on the top rung.
Railsplitters 113 – Gerrand 29, Allen 20, Harris 19, Hunter 14, Aruwa 13
Birdmen 123 – Braswell 36, Colla 19, Matambanadzo 19, Inger 14, Barrow 13
3-2 Railsplitters, Nelson Street
0-5 Breakers Development
After a close first half it was a commanding second half performance that carried Sky to 79-62 win against Sparks in the women’s competition.
Sky dominated the third stanza 29-8 with Orewa College guard Hannah Wentworth and Breana Jones knocking down perimeter shots and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto scoring inside.
Sparks shaded the fourth quarter with Shanee Kiriau prominent but Sky had little trouble protecting their advantage to win their second game of the season.
Earlier Mikayla Blair had been in good scoring touch making 11 first quarter points for Sparks. An even first half ensued with Alyesha Schuster and Sophie Dil chipping in for Sparks as they entered the break 41-38 ahead – Wentworth made one of her four triples in the shadows of half-time to keep Sky in touch.
Sky 79 – Kelman-Poto 22, Wentworth 18, Jones 17, Maddix 9
Sparks 62 – Blair 17, Dil 10, Schuster 10, Kiriau 9, Davidson 8
Despite 25 points from Tall Ferns forward Deena Franklin the Suns were able to win the battle of the top two teams beating Storm 70-60.
It was 13 points apiece at quarter time but Suns broke the deadlock in the second winning the stanza 25-18 – 15 points in the half from Morgan Ili proving the difference.
Franklin scored eight straight points to open the third but the triple inside threat of Annabelle Jenkins and the Kailahi-Fulu sisters Jazz and Zaaliyah gave Suns a 54-42 three-quarter time lead.
Triples from Emme Shearer and Shauna Povey hinted at a strong Storm finish but five points apiece from Anna Lacey and Jazz Kailahi-Fulu ensured Suns have a spot in the grand final with a round of the regular season still to play.
Suns 70 – Ili 19, A Jenkins 12, Lacey 10, J Kailahi-Fulu 10, Z Kailahi-Fulu 10
Storm 60 – Franklin 25, Berry 7, Shearer 7, Povey 7