Basketball is riding the crest of a wave in New Zealand at present. The success of the Breakers and Steven Adams in the NBA has seen both the popularity and quality of the code improve significantly.
Next week in Palmerston North the annual Super 8 tournament is staged. There are six genuine contenders for the title which is generally unusual. Marcos Edwards is captain of Hastings BHS who have featured in the last five finals and beat Rotorua BHS 73-64 in the 2015 decider.
“It was very special to win that title with my brother. I came off the bench and got a few more minutes than I expected because we had four guys in foul trouble. I hope we can play that well again,” Edwards says.
Hastings are pooled with Napier BHS, Gisborne BHS and Hamilton BHS. Hastings have only played a scrimmage with their local rivals Napier while Hamilton have improved and Gisborne are expected to struggle.
“I learnt at last year’s National’s you can’t take any game for granted. You have be on in every game,” Edwards says.
Hastings went on a North Island tour earlier this season where they played five games in 40 hours. Rotorua BHS were convincingly beaten, but matches against St. Pats Town, Te Awamutu College and Hamilton BHS were dropped in the last few seconds. Tauranga BC beat Hastings by 12 points.
“That was trip was awesome learning. It showed what we needed to work on and also proved we were a lot better than what a lot of the boys thought we would be. We lost quite a few players last year,” Edwards says.
Edwards is an age-group Hawke’s Bay rep who plays point and shooting guard. He believes Super 8 will be another litmus test for Hastings before heading to zone regional’s in late August. Hastings have to finish in the top six of that event to reach Nationals.
“Palmerston North have three NZ reps including Callum McRae who is seven foot. New Plymouth have been in the final the last four years and Hamilton and Tauranga have really improved. It will be a tough tournament,” Edwards explains.
The Super 8 tips of on Monday. The previous winners have been.
1998: Hastings BHS
1999: Hastings BHS
2000: Tauranga BC
2001: Napier BHS
2002: Hastings BHS
2003: Hamilton BHS
2004: Hastings BHS
2005: Napier BHS
2006: Napier BHS
2007: Palmerston North BHS
2008: Palmerston North BHS
2009: Tauranga BC
2010: New Plymouth BHS
2011: New Plymouth BHS
2012: New Plymouth BHS
2013: Hastings BHS
2014: New Plymouth BHS
2015: Hastings BHS
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