The 2019 ‘AA’ NZSS Basketball Championships begin next Monday (September 30th) with 24 teams contesting both the Boys and Girls Tournaments.
Nayland College finished sixth in the Zone 4 Boys qualifying tournament over Winter Tournament Week and will be at Nationals for the first time in five years.
Nayland are in Pool A, alongside Zone 1 champions Saint Kenitgern College, Napier Boys’ High School, Zone 4 winners Middleton Grange School, Gisborne Boys’ High School and Mount Albert Grammar School. View the full tournament draw HERE
Nayland College coach Sam Dempster has provided some insight into the team ahead of their trip over the Cook Straight to Palmerston North next week.
School: Nayland College
Coaches: Sam Dempster, Craig Shephard, Corban Christie and Andrew Stevens
Captain: Tysxun Aiolupotea
Team Members: Tysxun Aiolupotea, Troy Wilson, Max McCarthy, Tyler Herbert, Kaha Toitaha, Vojta Bednar, Jordan Garea, Max McGeady, Brodie Seelen, Ollie Walker, Travis Fleming and Phaze-Raku Dry
NZSS AA basketball tournament history: This is the first time Nayland has qualified for Secondary school Nationals in five years. In 2013 we placed eighth at nationals, and before that the best Nayland has ever achieved is 4th on two different occasions.
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in Palmerston North?
We pride ourselves on our great culture in our team, we need to stay together and work hard. We are very small so we need to play a fast paced game and knock down our outside shots. Our rebounding has been a big work on since the South Island tournament and will be a key skill for us to improve to compete at Nationals.
What local/regional competitions has your school played in this year?
We compete in the Men’s A grade, this year we had ups and downs. We lost to a team by 50 points at the start of the year, three months later we played them again and beat them by 20 points. This was a huge achievement and a huge compliment to the hard work the team has put in over the year.
Tell us about a big game in your recent Zone tournament that helped you qualify for the NZSS AA nationals?
A highlight for us was beating Nelson College. After not beating them all year we came together and played a great team game to beat them when it counted and this was a huge highlight. Beating King’s High School to cement our spot at Nationals was a very special moment for us after not qualifying for 5 years.
What’s the age and experience make-up of your team?
We have 6 year 13 students, only 2 of which have been to a national tournament before (age groups). We have 1 year 12 student and 4 year 11 students. We do not have a lot of experience at top level tournaments however having a tough pool and a challenging quarter-final game at South Islands was a good chance for us to gain much needed experience.
What’s the strength of your team?
Definitely our culture, we have a great group of young men that have a genuine care for each other and each of them focus on doing what is best for the team. We have 12 guys that work hard for each other and put the team before themselves.
Individually, Tysxun Aiolupotea (Team Captain) has excelled this year being selected as a non-travelling reserve for the NZ U18 3x3 team. He was also selected as one of 24 Highschool students selected to attend the Steven Adams Invitational camp (top 24 Highschool students in New Zealand). He also was a member of the Nelson Giants for the second year. A player to watch in the future!
Does your team have a motto?
“Hard work will always beat talent when Talent fails to work hard”.
Who are the individuals in your team that are successful in other sports?
Max McGeady – He is going straight from basketball nationals to Australia where he will represent NZ in Volleyball.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We have been extremely blessed with community support. We have raised nearly $6000 on a give-a-little page, we also have received donations from local businesses.
It has been amazing the way the Nelson Community has got behind the team, for all of the support the boys are extremely appreciative.
This trip would not be possible without our amazing community support!
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