The 2016 New Zealand Secondary Schools Basketball Championships are being held from 26 September – 1 October. Leading up to the tournament, College Sport Media is profiling some of the teams likely to feature.
Westlake Girls’ High School go into the tournament as the recent Girls Zone 1/Northern Region Secondary School tournament winners and are looking forward to travelling to Palmerston North for the nationals.
School: Westlake Girls’ High School
Senior A squad: Rose Davidson, Zara Jillings, Tiarna Clarke, Keeley Tini, Sophie Dil, Jordyn Maddix, Mareta Davison, Chanel Brodeur-Muir, Emme Shearer, Piper Manolas, Siamau Talafou, Jessica Moors, Alesha Nathan (squad member), Christine Ling (squad member), Hannah Simpson (squad member)
Senior A team coaching staff: Jody Cameron (Head Coach), Stephen Dil (Assistant Coach), Jemma Field and Matt Cable (Managers)
Senior A team captain : Rose Davidson (C) and Zara Jillings (VC)
2016 Representative players: Rose Davidson (Harbour U19, U23), Zara Jillings (NZ U18 3x3 team, Junior Tall Fern and Harbour U19), Tiarna Clarke (NZ Select Team, Junior Tall Fern and Harbour U19, 23), Keeley Tini (Harbour U17, 23), Sophie Dil (Harbour U17, 23), Jordyn Maddix (NZ U16, Harbour U17), Mareta Davison (NZA U16, Harbour U17), Chanel Brodeur-Muir (Harbour U17, 23), Emme Shearer (Harbour U15), Piper Manolas (Harbour U17), Jess Moors (Harbour U15)
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals?
Our success this season has started with defence. We try to control the tempo of the game and make sure we do all the little things well.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
We played in the Auckland Premier Girls Competition where we lost to a very good Mt Albert Grammar School side in the semi-finals. We managed to do better in the Zone 1 Qualifying tournament where we came first, beating MAGS and Auckland Girls’ Grammar along the way.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the court?
This season we have had great games against Auckland Girls’ Grammar, MAGS and Rangitoto College, sharing wins over the 2-3 times we have met each side. Traditionally Rangitoto, being our North Shore neighbours, have been closet rival, but this season we have really enjoyed matching up with AGS.
Tell us about a memorable game your team has played this year?
Our pool match against Auckland Girls at the Regional Qualifying tournament was an amazing game. A real battle, with neither side giving an inch the entire game. We were down for much of it (by as many as 10 points at some stages) but came back strong over the second half to win 79-75. We were really proud of the way our girls stood up in the pressure moments of that game.
How many players are returning to the NZSS Nationals from last year and what’s the age balance?
We have a good mix of senior and junior players. In our wider squad we have six year 13 players. Zara, Rosie and Tiarna are the leaders of our team and do a great job showing the way for the junior girls coming through and make sure they meet the high standards expected. At the same time many of our juniors have bright futures and have really risen to the challenge of pushing our seniors hard for playing time. For six of our team this will be their first NZSS Champs.
Does your team have a mascot or a philosophy that it comes together under?
Not really, but we would love someone to volunteer as our mascot. We are happy to provide a swan suit if needed. Ultimately our philosophy revolves around playing together, understanding your job and doing it as well as you can. We need everyone to make a contribution to the team.
Who are the individuals in your team that are successful in other sports?
We have a number of players who excel at other sports like netball and volleyball and also in the classroom, but the most interesting non-basketball achievement in our squad this year was from Zara Jillings who was selected to attend the London International Youth Science Forum; a two-week live-in event with 500 other scientists from 75 countries.
What other support has your team received?
We are really grateful for all the family support we have received this season. Whatever we have needed they have been willing to do it; from sausage sizzles to stats to bench duty to after match functions.
Who are the recent former players that have played for this Westlak team now playing at an elite level?
Deena Franklin (Tall fern), Katelin Noyer (Fresno State), Georgia Perrott-Hunt (North Dakota State)
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