Westlake Boys Premier Basketball vs Auckland Grammar School
On Monday night the Westlake Boys Premier Basketball team played its seasonal Monday night fixture against Auckland Grammar School at home in the new gymnasium.
The game started off quickly with both teams scoring well inside. About halfway through the quarter, the defence on both ends tightened up and slowed the scoring. By the end of the quarter Westlake was ahead 17-13. The second quarter was back and forth with scoring slowing down, due to both teams turning the ball over and giving away fouls. In the end Grammar got the better of the quarter pulling ahead by 1 point at the halftime break to 31-32.
Grammar came out of the break carrying over the momentum from the second quarter. They managed to get the ball inside and score in the paint. During the quarter Westlake gave away too many points in the paint on the defensive end and left too many points on the rim on the offensive end. Grammar played hard throughout the quarter and took a very solid 11 point lead into the final quarter.
Westlake really needed to fire up in the final quarter to get themselves back in the game. The team put full court pressure on Grammar from the start of the quarter until the end. Behind a massive shift in intensity led by Scott Telfer, Westlake managed to force Grammar to rush their offence. The boys capitalised off these turnovers and scored at will with a few quick baskets in the paint and a big 3-pointer from Reuben Fitzgerald. Westlake were hunting for the lead. Great effort plays and finishing strong at the rim from Telfer led Westlake to tie the game up at 56 all.
The Grammar coach called a timeout and tried to stop the huge momentum change that had brought Westlake right back into the game. From the timeout Westlake kept the hammer down and forced a wild pass to get picked off by Thabo Manyere in the back court, who then threw down a thunderous dunk to put Westlake up for the first time in the second half. After a few more quick Westlake buckets, Greg Vukets managed to pick off the inbound pass and get it back for a layup to put Westlake up 6 points. The boys continued to lock in on defence and force turnovers. James Moors worked hard to pick off a game high 5 steals. With Manyere on fire in the paint, Westlake managed 10 points (Manyere getting 8 of these) in quick succession to push the lead out to double figures. Grammar succeeded in drawing some shooting fouls, converting 3 points from the freethrow line, but Westlake was now truly in control with the clock winding down. Captain Isaac Letoa slowed the ball down to run the clock and with a few seconds left on the shot clock, he coolly slotted a 3-pointer to ice the game for Westlake (behind a 34-7 point quarter for the hosts). After an intensity fuelled defensive effort in the fourth quarter, Westlake had pulled off the win 77-61, to improve to six wins and one loss for the season so far.
Big man Thabo Manyere was huge for Westlake, especially in the pivotal fourth quarter, shooting a very efficient 13-18 for 28 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals. Guards Isaac Letoa and Reuben Fitzgerald were both key contributors. Letoa netting 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Along with 3 key 3-pointers Fitzgerald, shot well inside the ark adding 17 points. James Moors and Greg Vukets managed 9 steals between them. Moors was big on the defensive end to go with his 5 steals; he also had 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Vukets helped all over the court with 7 points to go with his 4 steals. Scott Telfer was a huge key in changing the momentum of the game to start the fourth quarter; his effort led to steals, rebounds and 4 back-to-back quick points.