Written by Mike Lacey, laceylowdown.com
The 2014 Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam tipped off on Tuesday at Auckland University. In the opening game of the competition Save Youthtown proved too strong for the Breakers Academy running out 99-77 winners.
The Breakers did make the early running posting a 21-16 first quarter advantage, Jackson Stent knocking down 8 early points, but by half time Youthtown held established a six point’s advantage 45-39.
The Youthtown trio of Ana Haku (31pts/11 rbs), Derone Raukawa (26 pts) and Lindsay Tait (15/2/5) broke the game open in the third quarter. The Breakers had no answer for Haku and Tait’s penetration or Raukawa’s perimeter shooting.
Tai Wynyard (10pts/7rbs/5assists) and Jordan Ngatai (16pts/5rebs) were the best of the Breakers.
The second game was a much closer affair. The two skippers led the scoring in the first half, Casey Frank (10pts) helping The Birdmen to a 38-31 lead over Team Allen - Hayden Allen (9pts).
The experienced pair of Karl Noyer and Jonathan Southey made some handy outside shots for The Birdmen and Morgan Natanahira was prominent for Team Allen in the first half. It is good to see the Southland Sharks forward back playing after a two year absence due to knee surgery.
Noyer sunk a long three to open the second half scoring, extending the Birdmen’s advantage to 10 points, Chris Fahrensohn scoring eight points either side of half-time to keep Team Allen in the hunt.
Midway through the third period Team Allen applied some extended defensive pressure which reaped dividends as Matt Lacey, Natanahira and Allen led a scoring surge to take Team Allen into the lead for the first time, seven minutes into the period . A fall away three from Allen over the outstretched hand of Josh Bloxham on the three-quarter time buzzer stretched their lead to 57-53 with 10 minutes to play.
The Birdmen’s cause wasn’t helped when Johnny Fesolai fouled out two minutes into the final stanza but when Bloxham tied the scores at 68 apiece with 5:05 to play a grandstand finish looked likely.
However this didn’t quite eventuate as a Lacey triple sandwiched between Allen and Nick Barrow scores eased Team Allen to a win.
Highlights of the game were the classy performances of former and current Tall Blacks Hayden Allen and Casey Frank.
Also, my sources also tell me that Karl Noyer is hoping to knock Frank off the number one beard ranking before the competition finishes!
Team Allen 77 (H Allen 22, C Fahrensohn 13, N Barrow 12, M Lacey 11, M Natanahira 11).
Birdmen 71 (C Frank 18, K Noyer 15, J Southey 10, J Bloxham 9).