Waikato triumphs at North Island Championship
It was the Sheldon Larsen show at the North Island Championships in Auckland, as the longtime national MVP and Roller Black guided Waikato to a title clinching performance.
With his superior speed and strength up and down the floor, Larsen, who has developed his game further since featuring in the South African national league, reigned supreme against all and sundry, even when double-marked as he so often was.
Waikato took the grand final over Auckland A 73-57 with Larsen dominant. He did receive some handy support, especially from point guard/shooting guard Wayne Chase who also enjoyed a particularly good tournament.
Up 22-18 at the first quarter break Waikato extended its lead to nine points when Auckland fell away in the second spell. At the end of the third quarter Waikato were ahead 53-42. The result was a wake-up call for Auckland, who on the day simply had no answers to Larsen’s skill sets and Waikato’s overall determination.
During the tournament most games reflected comfortable results for winning teams but Mid West pushed Auckland to a close encounter in round-robin action before Auckland took the spoils 53-51. The Waikato-Mid West clash also produced some excitement before Waikato emerged victorious 67-61.
Results: Auckland A 47 Auckland B 36; Mid West 86 Auckland B 29; Auckland A 69 Bay of Plenty/Northland 28; Waikato 60 Auckland B 33; Auckland A 53 Mid West 51; Bay of Plenty/Northland 58 Auckland B 50; Waikato 67 Mid West 61; Waikato 47 Bay of Plenty/Northland 38; Mid West 85 Bay of plenty/Northland 40. Final: Waikato 73 Auckland A 57.
Meanwhile, the final placings in the separate Northern League, completed earlier in the season were: Division A: 1, Auckland A 85. 2, Mid West 70. 3. Bay of Plenty/Northland 52. 4. Auckland B 52. 5 Waikato A 31.
Division B: 1. Northland 48. 2. Waikato B 29. 3. Amazons 14.