Canterbury claim South Island Invitation Tournament
The Tuki-sponsored South Island Invitation tournament, staged by Canterbury Basketball, proved a success with six teams competing – Canterbury, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Invictus and Mid West. Suitably, the hosts went on to win the event, defeating Mid-West in the grand final. The format consisted of a round robin with the top two sides playing off in the final. Day one saw games played at the Ara Institute of Technology, with day two action shifting to the Bishopdale YMCA.
Canterbury prevailed throughout by looking better drilled and organised. Most other teams were comprised of mixed and untried combinations and never gelled the same as a result. It was pleasing to see Otago, who are in a rebuilding phase, and a full Invictus side of men and women.
Canterbury’s Eamon Wood was in a class of his own, excelling with his outstanding skill sets, speed across the court and shooting ability. There were other leading performers, all from the national squad, spread across other teams: Mihi Pepe and Kauri Murray from the mixed men and women Auckland combination; Ben Hekenui, playing for Bay of Plenty (who drew players also from Northland and Wellington) and Te Reo Lewis and Paul Fallon in the Mid-West line-up.
Mid-West was somewhat disadvantaged by having to compete in the grand final immediately after taking part in the last round-robin game. Subsequently, they ran out of steam in the final, Canterbury victorious by 30 points. On day one of the tournament these two teams were locked in a tight battle, Canterbury edging to victory 27-26.
Results: Bay of Plenty 38 Auckland 29; Canterbury 56 Otago 16; Mid West 24 Invictus 12; Canterbury 46 Bay of Plenty 34; Auckland 52 Invictus 9; Mid West 63 Otago 11; Bay of Plenty 64 Invictus 22; Canterbury 27 Mid West 26; Auckland 40 Otago 30; Canterbury 45 Invictus 18; Mid West 42 Auckland 22;Bay of Plenty 39 Otago 18; Canterbury 38 Auckland 17; Otago 45 Invictus 11; Mid West 42 Bay of Plenty 38. Grand final: Canterbury 58 Mid West