Christ’s College finished fourth at the AA National Secondary Schools basketball championships in Palmerston North recently. That placing is the best by a Canterbury school in the past two decades and a genuine surprise to many given Christ’s were 20th last year.
Christ’s was beaten by eventual winners Rosmini College in overtime in the semi-finals.
Christ’s sport has experienced a resurgence in many codes over the past two years and basketball’s rise has been the most dramatic.
In 2016, led by captain and centre Hunter Aarts, and vice-captain William Harrison, Christ’s bounced back from 20 and 40 point thrashings to Cashmere High School during the season to beat them by three points in the third-fourth playoff at the South Island championships earning their first ever spot at Nationals.
This year Cashmere would prove to be fierce rivals again, but one Christ’s eventually got the measure of.
Christ’s lost the Thompson final 62-60 to Cashmere. Cashmere’s Connor McLaughlin had a big night with 19 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Max De Geest scored 16 points for Christ’s, but his side fell short.
A few weeks later Christ’s meet Cashmere in the Zone 4 final and won 62-56. Christ’s and Cashmere were grouped together at Nationals and Christ’s prevailed in that meeting 79-68.
Christ’s beat the Wellington and Taranaki champions and eliminated the winners of the Auckland regular season at Nationals. Their full results were:
Pool Play: Cashmere High School, 79-68
Pool Play: Wellington College, 77-53
Pool Play: Kelston BHS, 95-75
Pool Play: New Plymouth BHS, 88-76
Pool Play: Palmerston North BHS, 47-50
Quarter Final: Auckland GS, 79-74
Semi Final: Rosmini College, 72-76 (OT)
3 v 4: Mount Albert Grammar School, 62-72
Max De Geest and Max Darling were selected for the tournament team. Darling is originally from Nelson College and has played both basketball and volleyball at an age group level for New Zealand. De Geest appeared for the Canterbury Rams this season and averaged 14 points a game for the New Zealand Under-18’s at the Oceania Championships earlier this year.
Christ’s are being coached by former Tall Black and present Canterbury Rams mentor Mark Dickel.
Interestingly Christ’s First XI is being coached by former Black Cap Peter Fulton and the First XV by former All Black captain Reuben Thorne. In rugby the First XV have been semi-finalists in the UC Championship for the past two years and this year beat Christchurch Boys’ High School for the first time since 2000.
Additionally Christ’s won the Maadi Cup in 2016 and the Rankin Cup hockey title this year.
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