The quarter-final line ups have been resolved at the AA National Secondary Schools Basketball Championships in Palmerston North. The teams featured will surprise few, but one of last year’s boys finalists will not reach the decider in 2017 after Rangitoto College finished second in Pool D and as a consequence will face the top qualifier in Pool B, 2016 runners-up Palmerston North Boys’ High School.
Defending champions Rangitoto College were pipped by Auckland Grammar School 74-72. Grammar has beaten Rangitoto three times this season, but Rangitoto had won their last meeting in the semi-finals of the Auckland Premiership.
Auckland Grammar, who topped the Auckland standings after the round-robin, headed Rangitoto College with five wins in Pool D.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School was expected to make light work of Canterbury champions Christ’s College, especially with Christ’s missing key player Max de Geest. However Palmerston North trailed 47-45 with 90 seconds remaining, before prevailing 50-47 to top Pool B with five wins.
Rosmini College topped Pool A with five wins defeating second-placed Mount Albert Grammar School 77-67 in their last group game, though MAGS once again proved difficult for a top opponent to foil holding the lead for much of the third quarter.
Westlake Boys’ High School had the least hassle free route to the quarter-finals trouncing Rongotai College 76-56 in the Pool C decider. Rongotai are to be credited for making the top eight after crashing out in the semi-finals in Wellington.
The highlight of the quarter-final fixtures is a replay of the Auckland final between the two Grammar schools, Mount Albert and Auckland.
Auckland Grammar started the day with a routine 79-47 victory against Massey High School, but came unstuck against Hamilton Girls’ High School 65-62. Auckland Grammar scored more points in the group overall, but Hamilton claim top spot by virtue of their win over Auckland.
MAGS had no such dramas thrashing Hastings 91-52 to finish ahead of Melville High School who won four games.
Zone 4 champions St Hilda’s Collegiate had to beat defending champions St Peter’s Cambridge to keep their quarter-final prospects alive, but fell short 74-70 in a genuinely exciting contest.
St. Peter’s have won 21 matches in a row at the Nationals and will seek to preserve that unbeaten streak against Westlake Girls’ High School tomorrow who were second in Pool C behind Wellington and Zone III champions St Mary’s College.
St Mary’s are in ominous form, beating Sacred Heart 107-59 and Westlake 84-61 today to move serenely into the play-offs.
Draws and Results
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