A dominant display by centre Corey Le’aupepe has guided St. Patrick’s College, Wellington to an 80-66 win over Wellington College in the Pohlen Cup basketball final at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie tonight.
Le’aupepe, a runner up with Newlands last year, bagged 30 points and made a number of important defensive plays as Town powered to their 19th Wellington Championship and first since 2012.
Le’aupepe proved tough to contain in the paint and was often triple teamed by Wellington which opened up other scoring options for Town.
Initially Wellington was extremely competitive and led 20-17 after the first quarter. However a 9-0 run by Town at the start of the second-quarter swung the pendulum firmly in the Catholics direction. Town’s defense forced Wellington into long and hurried shots and they trailed 44-30 at halftime.
Wellington halved the deficit to seven midway through the third quarter. Isaac Miller-Jose and William Tompkinson added some much needed hustle from the bench.
At 50-42, Wellington’s Sione Helu was in the clear and went for a spectacular dunk. He missed and Town’s Dom Kafatolu executed a three-point play at the opposite end. Kafatolu nailed 3 three pointers in the match. The score at three-quarter time was 59-49 in favour of Town.
With about four minutes left Town led 73-64 and committed a series of carless turnovers almost inviting Wellington back into the game. However two vital steals by Le’aupepe snuffed out any chance of a Wellington revival. Town stretched the final margin to 14 points.
In the girls final St. Mary’s College defeated Hutt Valley High School 78-65. St. Mary’s went through the season unbeaten and have won the Wellington rugby, netball and basketball titles in 2016.
St. Pats Town Top Scorers
Wellington College Top Scorers
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