Rosmini College are the favourites to take out the National Secondary Schools Boys AA basketball championships in 2018. The reigning champions have only dropped a single game this year and return to Palmerston North for an eighth consecutive time having also won in 2011 and finished second in 2012 and third in 2013.
1. Mitchell Dance
2. Kainoa Lepou
3. Kruz Perrott-Hunt (C)
4. Josephy Hylton
5. Tom Seuren
6. Marvin Williams-Dunn
7. Reihana Maxwell-Topia
8. Jayden Boucher
9. Terence Abdon
10. Sean Murphy
11. Taine Murray
12. Thomas Morgan
Head Coach: Matt Lacey
Assistant Coach: Sonny Tuaputa
Manager: Nick Turpin
Physio: Kairan Govender
Teacher in Charge: Ambrose Samuels
Mitchell Dance - NZ U17 World Cup Team
Kainoa Lepou - NZ U17 World Cup Team, Auckland U19
Kruz Perrott-Hunt - Tall Blacks, NZ U19 Asia Cup Team (Qualified for Worlds next year),
Joseph Hylton - Harbour U19
Tom Seuren - Harbour U19
Marvin Williams-Dunn - NZ U17 World Cup Team (Captain), Auckland U19
Reihana Maxwell-Topia - Harbour U17, (Upcoming NZ U17 trialist)
Jayden Boucher - Harbour U19
Terence Abdon - Harbour U17
Sean Murphy - Harbour U17, (Upcoming NZ U17 trialist)
Taine Murray - Harbour U17, (Upcoming NZ U17 trialist)
Thomas Morgan - Harbour U17, (Upcoming NZ U17 trialist)
Rosmini College have won 23 out of 24 games this season, but coach Matthew Lacey warns, “We are going to have to come out hungry. We have had a decent run into the tournament, but there is certainly no room for complacency.”
Lacey admits, “our biggest strength as a group is our depth. We are very lucky to have a number of New Zealand representatives in our squad, but I think everyone of our guys know that they may be required to step up on any given days. We have had games where it hasn’t been the guys you would expect to step up that have come in and made big plays.”
Rosmini went through the Auckland Premier Competition with a 13-1 in regular season record before beating Auckland Grammar School in the semi-final and Mount Albert Grammar School 80-48 in the final.
In the regional tourney Rosmini beat Auckland Grammar School in semi and then St Kentigern College in final to win the gold.
Lacey was very pleased with Rosmini’s form at the Regionals.
“We came through a really competitive Zone 1 tournament where all the playoff games to get into the top seven were fierce. We were really happy to get through injury free and it was the first time this season that we have played multiple games together as a group.”
However Lacey identifies the Auckland final win at the highlight of the season thus far.
“It would have to be our win against MAGS in the Auckland final in front of our crowd that has been unbelievable these past few years. To play well in front of them for the last time this year was an awesome feeling,” Lacey concluded.
Rosmini’s Regional Results
Liston College, won 93-53
Northcote College, won 162-45
Long Bay College, won 129-35
Manurewa High School, won 110-70
St Kentigern College, won 100-53
Selwyn College, won 117-30 (Quarter Final)
Auckland Grammar School, won 96-57 (Semi Final)
St Kentigern College, won 113-77 (Final)
Tauranga Boys’ College return to the Nationals for the first time in three years and will be looking to showcase the best of the Bay of Plenty.
Head Coach: Tane Bennett
Assistant Coach: Dominic Nicholson
Manager: Cameron Hays
Players: Jeremy McIntosh, Josiah Albert, Liam Hepi, Izaac Kershaw, Jacob Forward, Jack McManaway, Chris Tupaea, Zane Hamilton, Jack Preston, Braydon Luli, Kaleb Harema
Tauranga City Under-19 Representatives: Josiah Albert (Captain), Jeremy McIntosh, Chris Tupaea, Jacob Forward, Liam Hepi, Kaleb Harema Rep
Tauranga City Under-17 Representatives: Zane Hamilton (Captain), Izaac Kershaw
Nationals Best Finnish: Fifth
Pool: Cashmere High School, Macleans College, Napier Boys’ High School, Waimea College, St Patrick’s College, Wellington
Super 8: Fourth
Zone 2 Premiership: Fourth
Bay of Plenty Wide: Champions
Tauranga City Schools: Champions
Synopsis: The key to Tauranga Boys’ College achieving at Nationals this year is pace. Utilising athleticism and speed in transition along with general fitness is key. Tauranga isn’t a particularly big team, but they move and shot the ball well. Tauranga managed to top their pool at Premiership tourney which saw them avoid eventual winners, Hamilton Boys’ High School. Tauranga had missed out on Nationals for the past three years so a top four finish in the highly competitive Super 8 and a trip to Palmerston North is a great result.
The NZSS Basketball Nationals tip off in Palmerston North on Monday, and feature 268 games, 69 teams and over 800 players.
In one of the most hotly contested events on the sporting calendar, St Peters School, Cambridge have contested the last three finals, winning in 2015 and 2016.
They are in Pool B along with Wellington winners Hutt Valley High School and Canterbury champions St Andrews College, as well as Otago Girls’ High School, Tauranga Girls’ College and Wellington Girls’ College.
With a talented roster and a recent trip to Australia under their engine, St Peter’s will be raring to go.
Some more about their team below:
School: St Peter’s School, Cambridge
NZSS tournament squad:
Emma Baker, Ella Bradley, Megan Bradley, Waiata Jennings, Toha Kemp, Owahini Kingi, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Grace McGirr, Alana Paewai, Kirsten Rawson, Jayze Waihi, Ahi Williams
Number of NZSS tournaments attended and best finishes:
This will be our eighth tournament after finishing about 20th in 2011. In 2013 we were ninth, in 2014 fourth, in 2015 and 2016 winners and in 2017 runners-up.
Krystal Leger-Walker was the MVP in 2015 and Charlisse Leger-Walker was the MVP in 2016 and 2017.
Current representative players:
Charlisse Leger-Walker – Tall Fern 2018 (comm games bronze medallist), JTF’s 2018, 2017 (second in Oceania qualifier – now to asia qualifiers in 2018), 2016, 2015?
U17’s NZ – world champs first time qualifiers – 2018, finished 12th, 2017 team finished 4th at Fiba oceania qualifiers – qualified for world champs
2016 U16’s NZ, 2015, 2014 Koru tour member
Waikato WBC 2014, 2017, 2018, Waikato Age group rep – u11 – u13, u15, u17, u19, u23 (MVP – over many of those grades)
Ella Bradley NZ U16, NZ U17, NZ U18.
Waikato WBC 2017, 2018
Waikato U13, 15, 17, 19 23
NZ U16, U14
Waikato U13, 15, 17,
Waikato WBC 2018
NZ U16 2017
Rotorua Age group rep
NZ u14 2018
Waikato U13, 15,
Waikato u17, Waikato u19
Dominique Stephens (currently injured)
Waikato u13, u15, u17
Waikato u17, u19
What is the age make-up of your team?
There is only one year 13 player in the team. There are four year 12s, two year 11s, four year 10s and one year nine.
What is it going to take for your school to do well at the National tournament?
Sticking with the game plan. Being disciplined. Working hard, have a never give up attitude.
Key players are all 12 on the roster. Approach is play to our strengths, play up tempo, play to enjoy.
What is your 2018 record?
Winners Zone 2 premiership tournament, beating Hamilton Girls’ High School by 30 points. Runners up Waikato secondary schools league
What has been a season highlight so far?
The team Headed to the Gold coast recently, hosted by Pero Cameron, who organised some games against Hillcrest Christian College, which is the team he coaches.
Gold coast U16 and U18’s ran a skills session with us and organised other activities with GC families (especially those who toured to Belarus, with Ella and Charlisse in NZ U17 team at world champs.) including the Paniora and Manamaulega families. It was a great experience for the girls to work alongside Pero, stay with him and his family over the weekend, listen to his advice and shared stories. Not too many chances to stay with a FIBA Hall of Famer! The girls were stoked.
Does your team have a motto or saying that it comes together under?
Coaches saying: Make adjustments, not excuses.
Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones often travels to the US to further his basketball ambitions. A self confessed basketball tragic with considerable ability, Tait-Jones hardly played last year while a student at Rongotai College.
In 2018, Tait-Jones has helped St Patrick’s College, Wellington reach the Nationals, something they failed to achieve last year.
“Rongotai didn’t really work out for me. I had some personal things going on so I didn’t play.” Tait-Jones explains.
“I was training though so I was in shape to play. I was unsure how things would go at Town. I knew a lot of the boys from basketball, but settling into a new system took time,” he continued.
The Town system is implemented by coaches Brendon Polyblank (a former Tall Black) and Damien Ekenasio (Wellington Saints General Manager). It has suited Tait-Jones play. In addition to being the captain he is the leading scorer on the team and has assembled an impressive array of season highlights.
Tait-Jones single game season high is 46 points while he also amassed 38 against Rongotai and 33 in a 99-66 drubbing of Wellington College. However Tait-Jones identifies his 40-point haul against Scots College in the Pohlen Cup semi-final as a personal highlight.
“There was a lot of trash talk on social media before the Scots game. I try to lead by example and stay out of it, but the rivalry with Scots is intense. They’re a good team and we trailed for most of the match. I had to step up and take over. My shots started to drop and we got up,” Tait-Jones recalls.
In the final against Rongotai College, Tait-Jones scored 24 points, but it wasn’t enough to stop a rampant Rongotai.
“They were too good. When they get on a roll and hit every shot it’s pretty hard to stop. They caught fire and deserved their win,” Tait-Jones acclaimed.
“I was proud of the way our guys hung in. We clawed it back before they stretched again. Our best performance of the season was when we beat them in the round robin. We lost a tight game to them at regionals by eight so points we can match them,” Tait-Jones elaborated.
Zone 3 champions, Napier Boys’ High School, Cashmere High School, Tauranga Boys’ College and Waimea College are among the teams in the Town group for Nationals. Despite nobody on the Town roster having previous experience at Nationals, Tait-Jones is hopeful Town could advance to the top eight.
“I think we were a bit lucky with our pool. If you look at some of the other groups they are very tough. Rongotai is grouped with Rosmini and MAGS and Hamilton Boys’ are with Auckland Grammar. Our pool will be tough, no doubt, but Napier only beat Rongotai by five and the other teams didn’t win their zone so if we play our best we’ve got a shot,” Tait-Jones observers.
Tait-Jones is a member of the New Zealand Basketball Academy and is closely mentored by Kenny McFadden (a key figure in the ascent of Steven Adams).
Tait-Jones stands 6 ft 6 and boasts a wing span of 6 ft 10, attending the Steven Adams Basketball camp for the leading 20 high school players in New Zealand. The US is a dseried horizon.
“I’d love to get a scholarship or a free education in the US. I’ve been lucky to go to New York and California to play in tournaments. Through Kenny and the New Zealand Academy I have trained with US trainers which has been great for my game,” Tait-Jones concluded.
Rongotai College have been building a strong basketball roster for some time. Twice North Island Junior champions, Rongotai made the Nationals for the first time in two decades last year and achieved a top eight finish at the Nationals.
In 2018, Rongotai won the Wellington competition for the eighth time, and for the first time since 1998, and boast a sharp shooting and fast ball moving team with high hopes of producing a fine performance in Palmerston North next week.
Management: Chris Tupu (Former Tall Black), Josh Maessen, Rob Clarke, Denise McLure.
Players: Klein Salmon, Ezrah Vaigafa, Jaylin To’o, Evyatar Tabor, Jayden Puroku, Ben Robertson, Adam Rybinski, Te Hoera Sullivan, Zion Upton-Mahan, Zach Campbell-Smith, Kane Upton-Mahan.
1978 - 5th
1979 - 5th
1980 - 1st
1983 - 4th
1990 - 5th
1991 - 6th
1992 - 6th
1993 - 4th
1994 - 3rd
1997 - 4th
2017 - 8th
Others: Evyatar Tabor (Wellington Under 17 Rep and National Champion), Jayden Puroku (Hutt Valley Under 19 Rep team 2018), Ben Robertson (Saints Squad member 2018), Adam Rybinski (Co-Captain/Head Boy).
College Sport Wellington Champions for the first time in 20 years winning the Pohlen Cup with a 14-1 record. Rongotai was the best offensive and defensive team in the competition.
For a second year in a row finished second in the Zone 3 Regionals narrowly losing to Napier Boys’ High School 77-72 in the final.
Rosmini College - Zone 1: First/2017 National Champions
Mount Albert Grammar School - Zone 1: Seventh
Hamilton Boys’ High School - Zone 2: First
New Plymouth Boys’ High School - Zone 3: Fifth
St Andrew’s College - Zone 4: Fifth
The Junior Tall Ferns team has been announced ahead of contesting the FIBA U18 Asian Championships in Bengaluru India, 28 October to 3 November.
The team is:
Ella Bradley. Waikato
Tayla Dalton. Harbour
Rochelle Fourie. Palmerston North
Grace Hunter. Wellington
Charlisse Leger-Walker. Waikato
Mele Latu. Counties Manukau
Leah Mafua. Wellington
Olivia O’Neil. Otago
Te Araroa Sopoaga. Wellington
Emilia Shearer. Harbour
Tessa Taio-Tomokino. Harbour
Charlotte Whittaker. North Canterbury
Sophia Kennedy. Canterbury
Koha Lewis. Waikato
Rasharnn Smith. Harbour
Lawrin Tipene. Harbour
Jody Cameron. Head Coach
Leanne Walker. Assistant Coach
Tim Dennis. Assistant Coach
Peter Lee. Physiotherapy
Kate Lacey. Team Manager
This team sees the admission of younger than usual talent, including three Under 17 National team representatives who have been selected after winning Silver at last year’s U17 Oceania Championships in Guam, and finishing fourth at the 2017 FIBA U17 Asian Championships and 12th at the FIBA U17 World Cup in July this year.
The team will be coached by Tall Ferns Assistant Coach Jody Cameron. She is supported by Assistant Coach Leanne Walker, a former Tall Ferns Captain and Olympian who is also the New Zealand Gold Medal 3x3 Asian Championship winning Coach.
Coach Cameron says she’s thrilled within the group and looks forward to seeing the team compete on the world stage.
“I am very pleased with the talent this team has shown as we prepare to compete in the Asian Champs.
“We have had a number of young athletes push their way into selection, making my job very difficult, but necessary to progress to Worlds,” says Cameron.
The Junior Tall Ferns programme historically prepares talent for the Tall Ferns longlist. Cameron says being involved with the New Zealand talent development programme is special and part of the enjoyment comes from watching players achieve higher honours at the top level.
“It’s always a great honour to coach a junior national team and see players evolve into the senior programme. We hope these athletes have their sights set on being Tall Ferns one day.
“Their development is of high importance in the progress of the women's league and programme in New Zealand. We are starting to see more depth as the game attracts other sporting codes, sees increasing participation at the entry level, and retains those that have gone through their junior years and are now giving back to the game. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this sport,” says Cameron.
The FIBA Asian Championships are a qualifying tournament for the FIBA U19 World Cup. This team will have their sights set on a top four finish to secure a starting spot at that event.
With the success of the Tall Ferns with a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games and winning the William Jones Cup this year, plus a women’s 3x3 Asia Championship Gold medal, New Zealand women’s basketball is adding more trophies to their cabinet and the pathway is looking bright for these dedicated young players.
Spurred on by their new Moascar Cup holding First XV, Napier Boys’ High School’s premier basketball team have defeated Rongotai College 77-72 in the final of the AA Zone 3 regional championships in Palmerston North.
In the last major event before Nationals, at the same venue in October, Napier rallied from an initial 16-6 deficit and held their nerve against the fast finishing Wellington champions.
With about five minutes remaining Rongotai led 68-67 when both teams struck a barren patch - neither scoring for more than two minutes. Rongotai had four three-point attempts rattle out and Napier failed to convert several layups.
Finally Jissanne Allen converted a shot with 2:30 left to lift Napier to a 69-68 lead. Another 21 seconds elapsed before Qing Yu Jiang missed two free throws. Rongotai responded by sneering the advantage, Jaylin To’o bustling through traffic to make it 70-69.
Tyrese Davies was Napier’s most effective offensive weapon, employing a combination of bulk and finesse to score regularly. Two close range buckets by Davies, in response to another To’o score. had Napier 73-72 ahead with 52 seconds to spare.
Napier committed a shot clock violation, but crucially snaffled a rebound with 28 seconds showing. Rongotai’s defense was smothering and another 14 seconds went by with no change to the score.
Yu Jiang was fouled, but only hit with two of his last six free throws, leaving Napier 74-72 in front with plenty of time for Rongotai to position themselves for a possible win.
Tragically the often fleet-footed Ezrah Vaigafa tripped over with five seconds to go and surrendered possession. Napier eventually settled the contest with a pair of free throws by Allen.
Rongotai on the back of triples by Finn McClure and Ben Robertson started brightly, bursting out to a 16-6 lead. However a three by Tylah Davies triggered a Napier rally and with Tyreese Davies going to work inside, Rongotai only led 25-24 after the first quarter.
Tyreese Davies really caught fire in the second quarter piling on five consecutive buckets as Napier stretched the margin to 11 points. A 6-0 Rongotai run made it 44-39 at halftime.
Rongotai had only scored four points midway through the third quarter as Napier maintained a 12 point advantage.
Klein Salmon eventually stopped the rot with two three’s and a steal as Rongotai closed to 61-56 at three quarter time.
A quick five points by Robertson and another long range connection by Salmon pushed Rongotai 64-63 ahead. Clifton Bush put Napier back in front with a three of his own before the tough and tense dying stages.
Napier's First XV playoff for the National title against St Peter's College, Auckland tomorrow in Palmerston North.
The Zone tournament serves as a seeding and qualifying event for Nationals. Napier and Rongotai will be joined by Palmerston North Boys’ High School, St Patrick’s College, Wellington, Hastings Boys’ High School and New Plymouth Girls’ High School.
The girls final was won by Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth over Wellington champions Hutt Valley High School. Queen Margaret College, Napier Girls’ High School, Wellington Girls’ College and Palmerston North Girls’ High School will also be present at Nationals.
Napier Boys’ High School AA Zone 3 Results
PP: Wellington College, 82-54
PP: Francis Douglas Memorial College, 101-57
PP: Upper Hutt College, 101-59
QF: St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, 102-63
SF: Palmerston North Boys’ High School, 92-82
GF: Rongotai College, 77-72
Joseph Ahie (Onslow College), Thomas Whyte (Auckland Grammar School), Max de Geest (former Christ's College) and James Moors (former Westlake Boys' High School) will be representing New Zealand at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games.
The players are part of the New Zealand U18 3x3 basketball team, recently selected as part of the 61-strong New Zealand team for the Argentina games from 6-18 October.
The roster is made up of a fine selection of talent, most of which has featured regularly on New Zealand age-group five aside teams.
Joseph Ahie will be representing his school at the Secondary Schools Basketball Premierships early next month. Ahie last represented Wellington at the U19 Nationals and was also named in the tournament team. Ahie says the opportunity to play for New Zealand is a privilege.
“Representing New Zealand is such a huge honour to me. I'm excited to do it once again, especially at an event as huge as the Youth Olympic Games. It'll be an experience I'll never forget,” said Ahie.
For de Geest the 3x3 selection is an extension of what has already been an impressive year. It’s been just over a week since de Geest returned from winning a silver medal with the Junior Tall Blacks at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships.
Upon return he was also named as one of four development players for the SKYCITY Breakers. He was a key player for the Waitaha Canterbury Red team that won the Under 19 National Championships last June, where he was also named in the tournament team.
At only 18, de Geest also played for the fifth-placed Canterbury Rams in the NBL this year.
James Moors was also part of the Junior Tall Blacks team at the FIBA U18 Asia Championships this month, with the selection a continuation of his surging success in recent years. Moors has signed an NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship with Colorado State University, United States. The Westlake old boy has been a regular for Harbour Basketball, helping to win national titles during his time. Moors was also selected to play at the Nike All Asia Camp and the NBA's Asia Pacific Camp last year. He says the chance to play at the Youth Olympic Games is a dream come true.
“Having the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games is a pretty amazing feeling. I’ve always wanted to compete at this competition so I’m very thankful for being selected and can’t wait to get on the court,” said Moors.
Thomas Whyte has also represented his province, playing for Auckland Basketball. He recently competed commendably at the U19 Nationals. Whyte also gained selection for the 2017 Nike All Asia Camp along with James Moors. Whyte has ambitions to attain a scholarship in the US and will be departing Auckland Grammar school to begin a post-graduate year at St Thomas More Prep School, Connecticut from September 2018
Three of the Youth Olympic team have also been named to play in the FIBA 3x3 U18 Asia Cup in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, 6 – 9 September (this week). Only Ahie will not play in that team, partly on account of his commitment to the Secondary School Premierships this week.
3x3 basketball has been contested at the two previous editions of the Youth Olympic Games, with the sport to make its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. The rules can be viewed at this link.
The Games are a pre-elite development opportunity for the world's most promising young athletes, allowing them to experience a multi-sport games environment while exposing them to learning and cultural opportunities and helping them on the performance pathway.
2Jayden Boucher asserts he enjoys being a leader. This should come as little surprise when one learns he’s the son of New Zealand basketball great Dillon Boucher.
Jayden is a Year 12 guard at Rosmini College, Auckland - the dominant schoolboy team in New Zealand at present. In 2017, Boucher was a member of Rosmini’s National Championship winning roster and in 2018 Rosmini are Auckland champions, having only dropped a solitary game.
Dillon played a record 422 games in the NBL, winning nine championships and was also involved in four Breakers premierships and many internationals with the Tall Blacks. Was basketball a forced choice for Jayden?
“Dad didn’t mind what sport I played. I actually played football and rugby for a while, but being around basketball all the time made me fall in love with it,” Jayden answered.
Boucher’s love of the game has earned him a place with the Breakers Academy, training two or three times a week before school. Additionally Boucher was one of 20 boys selected for the inaugural Steven Adams basketball camp. Six leading coaches identified the nationwide talent.
“It was an amazing experience which lasted two days. We did a combination of practical and theory. The theory stuff might sound boring, but it was really invaluable hearing from players who had been to the US and experienced a lot in the sport,” Boucher reflected.
Adams himself was present and very accessible.
“Steven was great. He had time for everyone and his office door was open the whole time. The most valuable thing I learned from Steven is to be relentless and thorough all the time. He said Kiwis nature can get a bit casual sometimes and in the NBA that isn’t such a good thing,” Boucher revealed.
There’s nothing casual about Rosmini in 2018. In the Auckland Premiership final they thrashed Mount Albert Grammar School 80-48 to capture the title for the second time in three seasons. The result was a reversal of their previous meeting which MAGS won. What changed?
“We did a lot of scouting to fix the parts of our game that went wrong. MAGS are a big and athletic team so we had to prevent them getting inside and use our strengths which are speed and shooting,” Boucher divulged.
It should be stressed when Rosmini lost to MAGS, New Zealand representatives: Mitchell Dance, Kainoa Lepou, Marvin Williams-Dunn and Kruz Perrott-Hunt were all absent, but Boucher is keen to emphasise Rosmini’s depth.
“We’ve got 16 players on the roster so we run pretty deep. We expect everyone to step up when required and have faith they will,” Boucher said.
“It’s great when we have our National reps. The level of intensity and skill always goes up, but we’ve got good chemistry in the whole group,” Boucher continued.
This week Rosmini is seeking to defend their Zone 1 AA title. The top six teams form this tournament qualify for Nationals in Palmerston North in October. Rosmini is grouped with Liston College, Northcote College, Long Bay College, St Kentigern College and Manurewa College. All teams accept St Kent’s shouldn’t present Rosmini with to must distress. How does Rosmini guard against complacency?
“Our coaches are always pushing us to improve because there is competition within the squad and New Zealand is only a big fish in a small pond,” Boucher concluded.
Jayden is the oldest child in his family followed by Makenzee and twins Sierra and Kassidy. Dillon Boucher is presently General Manager of the Breakers while outside of basketball Jayden has expressed an interest in studying sports science.
Above: Cashmere High School (Canterbury), Rongotai College (Wellington) and Rosmini College (Canterbury) won their Senior Boys titles. PHOTOS: Cashmere High School , Wareham Sport Media and Rosmini College
The local basketball titles have been decided in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury. Now the attention turns to regionals with 24 places (six in each of the four zones) available at Nationals in Palmerston North in October.
For the first time since 1998, Rongotai College are Pohlen Cup champions after an emphatic 85-69 victory over St Pats Town.
Rousing slam dunks by Ben Robertson and Jayden Puroku in the last minute applied the exclamation mark on Rongotai’s eighth overall championship.
Rongotai made an electric start charging to a 29-12 lead after the first quarter. Rongotai’s defensive intensity and rapid ball movement had Town startiled as the lead expanded to as many as 24 points in the second quarter.
Jaylin To’o scored Rognotai’s first five points and finished with a game high 24, but there were multiple contributors in amassing the decisive lead.
Diminutive and speedy guards Ezrah Vaigafa and Finn McClure shared 26 points between them while Robertson, a beast on the boards, chimed in with 10 and Klein Salmon nailed three triples in the last quarter to finnish with 13.
Town captain Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones produced a herculean effort following his haul of 40 points in the semi-final with 24 in the decider. Tait-Jones scored Town’s first eight points and he contributed several assists with a particularly effective no-look pass. Filimone Waqabaca ended with a flourish and collect 23.
The closest Town got after the lead ballooned past ten was 80-69 with about three minutes remaining. There was no question about the fight of the runners up, but Rongotai when they combine speed with precision are thoroughly entertaining and effective.
Hutt Valley High School (HVHS) won the Sharp Cup for the first time since 2013 with a nail-biting 69-65 triumph over Queen Margaret College (QMC).
HVHS surged to a 32-17 lead midway through the second quarter, but a 15-2 QMC run leveled proceedings by halftime.
HVHS led for most of the second-half, but with 1:59 remaining found themselves 61-60 down when Lilly Taulelei hit a jumper.
Following a timeout, a three by Jordan Rangitawa propelled HVHS back into a lead they never lost - despite some anxious moments.
Another Rangitawa triple at 63-62 appeared to provide HVHS with some breathing space, only for a quick steal and lay up by Grace Hunter reduced the deficit back to 66-65.
With 15 seconds left, HVHS led 67-65 when captain Leah Mafua missed a second free throw. Heroically Jasmine Troke sneered the rebound and with urgent support managed to waste seven seconds before Rangitawa was fouled. When Rangitawa connected with both shots, QMC’s brave title challenge was extinguished.
HVHS built their initial lead on the back of solid shooting by Rangitawa (20 points) and Mafua.
QMC was down 24-13 after the first quarter and took more than five minutes to make a single field goal in the second.
A three by Rosie Campbell with 3:28 left in the first-half was the catalyst for their resurgence.
Suddenly Paris Lokotui (20 points) caught fire and scored half of the next 14 points as the score was 34-34 at the main interval.
HVHS narrowly won the third quarter 19-17 with Mafua finding her range often - eventually finishing with a game high 24 points.
Hunter (17 points) hit two improbable jumpers in the last quarter when doubled-teamed, but HVHS held their nerve with the late heroics of Rangitawa and Troke enough to earn a seventh Sharp Cup championship.
Cashmere High School are back-to-back Thomson Trophy champions, defeating Rangiora High School 86-61 in the final. Nic Wenmoth was named finals MVP after scoring 19 points and collecting seven rebounds.
The first-half was tight and at one stage Cashmere only led 36-31. However Rangiora struggled to score in the second-half and tellingly were outscored 36-6 by the Cashmere bench.
Cashmere’s Louis Oskam scored a game-high 20 points while Jack Exeter and Lachie MacFarlane contributed 18 each.
In the girls Whelan Trophy decider between Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and St. Andrew’s College it was Charlotte Whittaker who put on a show for the crowd.
Whittaker scored 40 points and fetched 18 rebounds and 5 steals as St Andrew's successfully defended their title with a resounding 73-59 victory.
Rangi Ruru’s Alice Sproat (17 points, 14 rebounds) tried hard for her side, but once St Andrew’s jumped ahead 24-11 at quarter time, Rangi Ruru was always chasing the game.
Mount Albert Grammar School beat Auckland Girls’ Grammar School 59-52 on August 24 at the North Shore Events Centre. For AGGS it was just their second local loss in two years.
AGGS led 28-27 at halftime and 38-33 in the third-quarter, but a 15-2 MAGS run made it 48-40 at three quarter-time.
Laetitia Tuaiti was outstanding for AGGS scoring 26 points, but Sharne Pupuke-Robati had 21 for MAGS whose tough defense restricted AGGS to just 24 points in the second-half.
On the subject of tough defence, reigning National champions Rosmini College thrashed Mount Albert Grammar School 80-48 in the boys decinder.
Rosmini made the brighter opening with Mitchell Dance and Kruz Perrott-Hunt sharing triples in the establishment of an early 9-0 lead.
Clarke Aiono got MAGS on the scoreboard but three’s from Dance and Marvin Williams-Dunn gave Rosmini an 18-8 quarter-time lead.
More three’s from Jayden Boucher and Perrott-Hunt pushed the Rosmini advantage beyond twenty points before MAGS closed the gap to 38-20 at halftime.
MAGS reduced the deficit to 16 points early in the fourth quarter, but buckets from Kainoa Lepou and Taine Murray termined any prospects of a comeback. Dance led all scorers with 24 points.
There are four Zone tournaments around the country this coming week.
Tournament Dates: September 5-8, 2018
City: Auckland (North Shore)
Host: Harbour Basketball
Venue: North Shore Events Center & AUT North Shore
Tournament Dates: September 5-8, 2018
Host: Rotorua Basketball
Venue: Energy Events Centre
Tournament Dates: September 5-8, 2018
City: Palmerston North
Host: Basketball Manawatu
Venue: Central Energy Trusts Manawatu
Tournament Dates: September 5-8, 2018
Host: Southland Basketball
Venue: ILT Stadium Southland
For more details click here: http://nz.basketball/Competitions/Schools/AA-Premierships
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