All eyes in Auckland Premier Basketball on Friday night will be focused on the North Shore when fierce rivals Westlake Boys’ High School clash with Rosmini College for the first time this season.
Rosmini managed to defeat Westlake three times last season and Mitchell Dance is hoping Rosmini can continue that winning advantage.
“We have a real young team this year with only three Year 13s in the roster. Last year we made Nationals for the first time in a while and preformed pretty well so we are confident with hard work we will have a good season,” Dance forecasts.
Last Friday Rosmini edged semi-final contender Auckland Grammar School 61-56 to remain one of only three unbeaten teams in the early rounds of the Auckland Premier competition – Dance top-scored with 21 points.
“It was a diffcult game. We had six players away with injury and other commitments. One of our big men was out so we had to pull together a new game plan and pass and shoot more. It was a bit messy, but we got the win.” Dance reflects.
Dance insists Rosmini will have to be a lot better to topple Westlake.
“I think Westlake along with Rangitoto, Grammar and Palmerston North Boys’ will be the strongest teams in the country this year. We will have to shut down James Moors, Westlake’s big man, if we are going to win.”
Dance is Year 12 and already stands 6 foot 4. He explains his role in the Rosmini team is to provide leadership as one of the more experienced players. Dance along with sprightly point guard Marvin Williams-Dunn and the towering William Heather are shaping as key players.
Last year Dance was selected for the New Zealand Under-16’s who toured Australia. The visit across the Tasman proved to be a valuable learning experience.
“It was a really good experience because it’s a different game in Australia. They play a lot faster than we do in New Zealand. We were beaten in the tournament on a buzzer beater by Victoria Metro, the team that won. We blew a 20-point lead in the final quarter.” Dance rues.
Dance was also left to rue a buzzer beater defeat to Palmerston North Boys’ High School at Nationals last year. Palmerston North kicked onto make the final. The loss left Rosmini second in their pool and with a quarter final match-up against eventual champions Rangitoto College.
Rosmini went on an 11-game win streak in Auckland last year which included a win over Rangitoto. Rosmini won six out of eight games at Nationals and finished a credible fifth.
Mitchell is the son of Shane Dance who played for the Junior Tall Blacks. Mitchell first made a big impression in the sport when he was MVP at the National Under-13 and 15 club championships with Hibiscus Coast.
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