Action on the basketball court has been hot in Term Two. Who has stood out? Who is likely to be crowned National Champions in Term Three? How is your school going midterm?
Auckland has produced four of the last five National Champions and is widely tipped to do so again. The premier competition resumes on July 29 and there are three rounds, plus a few catch-up games, to play before the semi-finals. The Top Four is unlikely to change, though the order in which they finish could. Presently the top four is:
Rosmini College are the dark horse to gain Auckland honours. They have beaten each of the top three sides, but lost twice 77-80 and 44-61 to sixth placed Mount Albert Grammar School.
Rosmini shocked Rangitoto 82-75 in their first meeting, but Rangitoto won the rematch 91-76 on the back of 27 points by Sam Waardenburg. Rosmini won their first clash with Westlake BHS a couple of weeks ago 71-63. Mitchell Dance scored 17 points and Taine Wattie, also a member of the First XV, contributed 10 points.
College Sport Wellington’s Pohlen Cup is congested at the top of the table heading into the break. Scots College and St. Pat’s Town are 5-1 while a vastly improved Wellington College are 5-2.
Last week Scots suffered a shock 73-61 defeat to Aotea College. The win was largely thanks to Olano Afutoto and Seamus Curtin who managed 19 and 18 points respectively.
The top three in Wellington is unlikely to change though obviously the order could. The battle for fourth place is a real dogfight with Aotea College (3-4), Hutt Valley High School (3-4) and possibly defending champions Onslow College (2-5) and St. Pats Silverstream (2-5) poised to make a late push.
Wellington College made a big early season statement with two rare victories over St. Pats Town. However in the actual competition Town beat Wellington 78-64 on June 17. Corey Le’aupepe scored 25 points for Town. Wellington’s prolific scoring guard Sione Helu was held to 21 points.
Scots College missed the playoffs in 2015, but are genuine championship contenders in 2016. They thrashed perennial powerhouse St. Pats Town 82-62 in May with Taane Samuel scoring 25 points.
The Wellington and Scots game on June 10 was a shootout between Helu and Samuel. Samuel scored 37, Helu 36 as Wellington prevailed 93-88. Samuel also scored 37 points for Scots in their thrilling 90-84 win against St. Pats Silverstream.
Campbell Stephen from Hutt Valley High School is the leading scorer in the competition having amassed 196 points in seven games.
Otago Boys’ High Schoolwere National Champions in 2014, but are very much in a rebuilding phase. Recently they lost a traditional exchange to Christchurch Boys’ High School 104-48.
Canterbury is where the real strength resides in Southern basketball at present.
The second stage of the McDonalds Thompson Trophy is underway. After a nine-round first stage of the competition, the Trophy now splits into two pools, with each side playing five games. The top two sides from each pool go through to the semi-finals in late August, with the grand-final the following night to crown a champion.
Round One Standings
Pool A:Christchurch BHS, Ashburton College, Middleton Grange, St Bede’s College (Promoted), Burnside High School, Rangiora High School.
Pool B:Cashmere HS, Shirley BHS, Christ’s College, Papanui High School, St Thomas CC, Cathedral College (Promoted)
This graphic via NZhoops showcases some of the leading talent on display.
Note:One of the real highlights of this season was the performance of Cathedral College’s Jeremy Ebuenagainst St. Andrew’s College. Ebuen scored a competition record 52 points in his sides’ 117-86 win.
Hillcrest High School led by New Zealand representative Hamish McDonald are unbeaten in the Waikato Secondary Schools competition. They finished in the top eight at Nationals last year and are shaping as a possible title contender.
The Super 8 tournament is staged at Palmerston North BHS from August 8-10. Rotorua BHS finished fourth in New Zealand last year, but have fallen away badly in 2016. New Plymouth BHS and defending champions Hastings BHS look strongest in the Central North Island area, but Palmerston North with seven-footer Callum McRae are a tough prospect too.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand