“We always believed we could win,” Taine Wattie insists when recalling the dramatic comeback by Rosmini College to defeat Rangitoto College in the Auckland Premier Basketball final on Friday night.
Down 82-76 with 2:18 to play, Rosmini finished the game with a 12-2 run to triumph 88-84.
William Heather connected with two hook shots either side of a Marvin Williams-Dunn And 1 play to propel Rosmini into an 83-82 lead with little over a minute to play.
Rangitoto committed a shot clock violation on their next possession, and Kruz Perrott-Hunt capitalised on the error with a left-handed drive to make it 85-82. Dan Fotu scored a two to reduce the deficit to one but Williams-Dunn calmly converted a pair of free throws to put the game beyond the reach of Rangitoto.
“It was a pretty incredible comeback. I think the crowd was a big part of it. Basically the whole school turned up which made it a very Rosmini crowd. We managed to get inside in the last two minutes and get some good looks,” Wattie reflects.
Despite the lead alternating several times in the second-quarter, Rangitoto controlled much of the match. They started by scoring the first seven points, led by 10 points at three-quarter time and by as many as 16 points at one stage.
“We call our captain Nathan Curran ‘hustle dream’. He is our head prefect and leads by example with his intensity. We played some great defence in the final quarter to get the win,” Wattie says.
Wattie concedes he didn’t play his best game, but still contributed 14 points. Perrott-Hunt was the leading scorer with 18 points while Heather also scored 14 points. Junior Tall Black Sam Waardenburg was a beast for Rangitoto scoring 26 points and fetching 15 rebounds, Fotu managed 19 points.
“Sam is a junior Tall Black and an opponent we really respect. He is hard to contain. We did well to stop him scoring in the last two minutes. Their captain was pretty shocked at the presentation,” Wattie explains.
Rosmini have won 12 games in a row and only require a seventh place finish at next week’s regional’s to qualify for Nationals at the end of September. Rosmini last won the National title in 2011.
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