Rip City & Magic punch Final tickets - Week 9
Invercargill Magic and Rip City will battle it out next Tuesday evening to determine the 2022 Southland A Grade champion after both banked comfortable semi-final victories this week.
Rip City rode a master class performance from point guard Tom Cowie who proved unstoppable and finished with a game high 41 points, along with 21 a-piece from the Gutsell brothers (Hayden and Ryan) to coast to a 100-66 victory over Kelvin Hotel XMen.
After the game started with a 7-0 Rip City run, XMen went on an 8-0 run of their own to earn their only lead of the contest. Rip City took an 18-13 lead after the first quarter but when Rip City hit three 3-pointers to start the second and jump out to a 14-point lead, they never looked back. Cowie and Hayden Gutsell had ten treys between them in the first half and from there Rip City coasted to the finish line to set up a mouth-watering Grand Final against the undefeated Invercargill Magic.
Magic locked in on defence in the second semifinal to hold The Turbos to just 17 first half points and claim a wire-to-wire 83-52 win. As they have all season, Magic did it by committee, getting contributions across their squad with Jos Laracy finishing with a game high 27 points with Hayden Sproat and Dylan Pennicott adding double-digit tallies. By contrast Turbos relied heavily on Paratene McLeod (20) and Tevita Latu (16).
The final looms as a great contest. Magic won the clash between the two teams during the round robin 116-94 but won't have the services of Mac Stodart, who dominated inside that night and finished with 30. Rip City will also be sweating on the health of Quake Webster for Tuesday who injured his hip playing secondary school basketball last week. Indications are Webster is a chance to suit up for the final.
Meanwhile Northeast Ballers and Southland Boys High will playoff for the B-grade title on Tuesday.
Boys High turned on a 33-8 first quarter against MPMW Harleys Whero to effectively end the contest in the first ten minutes. The students were led by Mack Raines' 23 points with Francis Vargas, Ryley MacRae, Caleb Williams and George Smith all chipping in with 10 or 11 of their own in the 85-58 victory.
Jarrod O'Connor caught fire early for the Ballers against MPMW Harleys Pango draining six first quarter three to end the first period with 20 points. The Ballers took a 19-point lead into the final quarter before Pango came roaring home to close the game up to six points late, thanks to young Kupa White hitting clutch shots before the Ballers closed it out. O'Connor finished with 32 to go with Ethan Mitchell's 26 and 20 from Mitchel Robinson. Gemar Atenta had another night for the Pango, adding 29 and was ably supported by Alama Taula's 27.
HARGEST CONTROL OWN DESTINY IN WOMEN'S A GRADE
The Women's A-Grade competition is in the hands of James Hargest College. The school side which sat out this week on the bye were done a favour by Eastern Dev who beat their nearest rival the Kelvin Hotel Rogues 59-51 on Tuesday night.
Eastern's win was built on a strong fourth quarter as the travellers ran away with the final period 17-6 to claim the win over a short-handed Rogues line up missing key offensive weapons Sarah Hamilton and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rikit.Ella King closed out an impressive first season of A-grade with 14 with Erin Howes' 12 and Saffron Hare's 10 also important. Bonnie Watt led the Rogue's gutsy effort with 18, assisted by Donna Bell with 13.
Sparks jumped out to an early nine-point lead after the first quarter against Razzmatazz and despite their opponents hanging around, Sparks closed out a 61-51 victory.
Morgan Hunter moved into top spot on the league's point-scoring list with a game-high 21 with Maggie Manson and Lucy Kean (11 each) and Grace Holland (10) getting in to double figures. Bay-Leigh Johnson (13), Tyra Dunn and Sahdina Anderson (12 each) did their best to keep Razzmatazz in the contest.
All that means that Hargest control their own destiny in their final game next week. A win over Razzmatazz and the A Grade title is theirs. However, a Hargest loss, combined with a Rogues victory over Sparks and Rogues will take out the title, courtesy of them holding the head-to-head on points differential (+5 points). The two sides split their two meetings during the round robin.
A Sparks win over Rogues combined with a James Hargest loss is where it gets interesting. will see them finish in second place, regardless of the Hargest result, as they lost both games against JHC this year.
So, in summary, it is all on for young and not-so-young, this Tuesday night.
MEN'S - TUESDAY 9TH AUGUST
A GRADE FINAL: Invercargill Magic v Rip City
3RD/4TH PLAYOFF: Kelvin Hotel XMen v The Turbos
B GRADE FINAL: Southland Boys High School v Northeast Ballers
3RD/4TH PLAYOFF: MPMW Harleys Pango v MPMW Harleys Whero
WOMEN'S STANDINGS (Points +/-) One Round to Play
James Hargest 5-2
Eastern Dev 4-4
TUESDAY 9TH AUGUST - Final Round Robin
Kelvin Hotel Rogues v Sparks
James Hargest v Razzmatazz