SS20 Champions Crowned After 113 Days


Kaleb McDonald driving past defender in SS20 Finals Friday

After 113 days of waiting, The Summer Series finally has winners for each Division for the 2020 season.

What was set to be the end of sport till at least the end of the year turned out to be a temporary roadblock for competitions like The Summer Series. March 15 Semi-Finals came, and then play was halted for the foreseeable future. It took an effort of five million to bring the game we love back, and boy was it sweet.

Announced on 18th May, The Summer Series would be playing their two finals with closed doors on June 5th, meaning no spectators. No family, no friends, no supporters. After pressure from sporting bodies and organisations, Level 2 was announced. Groups of 100 could gather again, but sport was still a no go. With the next big announcement set to be held by the Government on June 8th, it was finally go time. Level 1 would be in action on June 9th, allowing a full house to enter Tawa Recreation Centre on June 12th, and that’s exactly what happened.

A full house made their way down to the Recreation Centre for the first games of High School Basketball allowed with spectators for the post-COVID season. The music was pumping, the mascots were dancing and most importantly, players were playing.

Two big games of basketball were played on a cold Wellington evening, with Tawa College taking on a full strength Onslow College side, and Sacred Heart battling it out with rivals Wellington East. Social Media exchanges between schools built up hype around the region. Some teams were even giving out house points for spectators who show school spirit.

It started off with Tawa taking on Onslow. The Tawa side continued their dominance of The Summer Series over the past three years from the tipoff, shooting out to a 26 – 6 point lead in the first quarter. Sam Gold shot the lights out with 5/7 FG attempts taking in 12 of Tawa’s 26. By Half time, Tyson Thata-Paese had caught up to S. Gold by dropping a few quick shots to make it 15 points for him. The steal count for them almost overtook Onslow for points. Onslow struggled against the tall defense from Tawa, and turnovers were proving costly with 24.

Findlay Cross stepped up to put some numbers on the board, finishing the night with 16 points, but the turnovers let Onslow down and stopped them from being competitive. A tough game, but controlled by Tawa the whole way through. Sam Gold finished the night on 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. His brother Ben Gold, back from Australia got a few minutes to make 10 points and 5 assists.

Final Score: Tawa College 128 – 59 Onslow College
Skinny Fizz Player of the Game: Sam Gold (Tawa)
The Summer Series MVP 2020 Presented by Skinny Fizz: Malachi Collins (Tawa)

In the last five games, these two teams have created a rivalry that’ll run to the end of time. Sacred Heart were looking to power off their Round 2 win over Wellington East, but there was a lot more work to do than score. Wellington East went into the game with a higher number of three pointers scored throughout the competition, and that’s what it was going to come down to. With both teams having key players strong in the paint, the outside shooting game was going to be a big focus.

From the get-go, it was going to be physical. Strength and fitness would be big in this game, and Sacred Heart proved they had the strength in the first few minutes. Wellington East managed to take the game to an 8-point margin by the end of the quarter. Isabella Tait-Jones from East shot seven, but also picked up two quick fouls in succession. The power in the key by Jyordanna Davey off the left hand was providing Sacred Heart a way to keep in the game. 14 points by Half Time meant she had done what coach Nixon had asked of her. Keep scoring in the paint, and don’t be afraid to take the open shot.

Heading into the half, three players were in foul trouble. One from Sacred Heart and two from East. With a smaller squad, East would have to work hard on their discipline to keep in the game. A few quick mistakes led to a last second three pointer from Tia Remuera to bring the game within four. Working hard under the hoop, Tayla-Kei Rahui-Laulau already picked up 10 rebounds with two of them crucial offensives. Also working hard on defense was Phoenix Patea from East, on track for hitting double digits in steals.

Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t carry for Sacred Heart going into the second half, with shots missing and not cashing in on steals. It was all East. They shot six more three pointers than Sacred Heart, which ultimately put them ahead for most of the game. Wellington East also drew more fouls, taking 16 trips to the line over the entire game. Amaree Ross-Simi from East knocked down five of those threes, and finished up with 20 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Jyordanna Davey from Sacred Heart finished on 22 points and two blocks. Stopping second chance points for Wellington East was Phoenix Patea, who took on the taller Sacred Heart defense under the hoop and came away with 14 rebounds, 16 points and eight steals. Wellington East went on to win in what was a physical, but fantastic game of basketball.

Final Score: Sacred Heart College 62 – 77 Wellington East Girls’ College
Skinny Fizz Player of the Game: Phoenix Patea (Wellington East)
The Summer Series MVP 2020 Presented by Skinny Fizz: Minnie Simpson (Heretaunga)