Nothing is conceded charitably in Rosmini College versus Westlake Boys’ High School sporting contests and that fact was categorically illustrated in the Auckland Premier basketball semi-final last Friday night. The excellent Lacey Lowdown blog was giddy in its praise of the match stating:
“It was a game that had outstanding individual performances, two passionate teams, a thundering climax, and all played out in front of two sets of ardent fans that turned North Shore Events Centre into a cauldron of noise and colour.”
With 95 seconds left, Rosmini appeared to be home and hosed with an 84-74 lead. What transpired next was quite extraordinary. Mitchell Dance attempts to make sense of the frantic final moments which yielded 29 points.
“Westlake decided to foul early which sent as to the free throw strip for two shots. We would make two and they caught fire and were hitting three’s. They scored four three pointers in the final 90 seconds which put pressure on us to hit our foul shots,” he says.
With three seconds remaining, Westlake had sliced the lead to a solitary point. Dance had a pair of free throws at 93-92.
“I was a bit nervous because I knew if I didn’t make both, Westlake could win with a three-pointer. Extra time wouldn’t have been a great result either, but it’s better than losing.”
Dance nailed both free throws and Westlake’s final attempt at yet another three was thwarted by a block.
Dance top scored with 36 points, helping Rosmini initially recover from a ten point deficit.
“I felt good. I hit a couple of early shots and got on a roll. We have a couple of big outs so I have had to step up lately, but everyone has lifted their intensity and our composure was impressive,” Dance acclaims.
Dance had to keep his cool in July when he travelled to the Philippines with the New Zealand Under-17’s. New Zealand played six games against leading Universities and despite only winning twice finished within four points in every fixture. The team was often subject to some dubious officiating.
“It was real different in the Philippines. They hardly call fouls and so we had to adjust to that. The referees were very helpful when the games got close, but it was a valuable learning experience,” Dance reveals.
Rosmini learned a heap by winning the Auckland title in 2016 and head into this Friday’s decider against National Championships Rangitoto College cautiously optimistic of a repeat success.
We are one-all against Rangitoto this year so it will be a tough game. We beat them the last time we played them and learned we need to keep our composure. They have their full team now so I wasn’t surprised they beat Auckland Grammar,” Dance reveals.
It’s been a golden year for sport at Rosmini College. The First XI cricket team are the Auckland champions and have qualified for the Nationals in December for the first time.
Additionally the First XV rugby team won the 1A North Harbour title and the First XI hockey team are favourites to win the Super City hockey tourney tomorrow night.
“There is a real brotherhood at this school. There was a huge crowd at the rugby and that same crowd is at the basketball. Were a smaller school, but everybody supports each other and that makes a real difference,” Dance theorises.
Dance was a member of the North Harbour Under-17 team who won the National championships in the term two holidays.
The Auckland Premier Basketball final between Rosmini College and Rangitoto College is played at the North Harbour Events Centre on Friday night.
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