The Boys and Girls semi-finalists have been found at the NZSS AA Basketball Championships in Palmerston North.
Matt Twort watched today’s quarter-final match-ups between St Peter’s School and Westlake Girls’ High School (Girls) and and Rangitoto College and Palmerston North Boys’ High School (Boys) below.
St Peter’s School v Westlake Girls’ High School
St Peter’s Cambridge progressed to the semi-finals of the Basketball Secondary School Nationals on the girls ‘AA’ side of the draw, seeing off a resilient Westlake Girls High School side with a 65-58 win.
Reigning tournament MVP Charlisse Leger-Walker was yet again the driving force behind SPC, finishing the match with an unofficial stat line of 42 points and 20 rebounds. Her speed, strength, shooting and interior defence was all too much for Westlake to handle as SPC grinded out the win.
Westlake’s Emme Shearer did her best to keep her side in the game, often popping up with pin-point passes and difficult finishes at the rim, but the New Zealand Under-16 rep’s efforts weren’t quite enough for Westlake.
The writing was on the wall early for Westlake as Leger-Walker overcame a scrappy opening to the game to score two and-one baskets to put SPC in the driver’s seat.
Westlake were reluctant to take outside shots and weren’t having much luck scoring on SPC’s rim protection, seeing SPC take a 20-9 lead at quarter time.
A three-ball and another and-one to Leger-Walker opened proceedings in the second quarter to hand SPC a commanding lead, though the remainder of the half would be controlled by Shearer who did her best to bring Westlake back into the game, and that she did.
Westlake pulled the score back to 28-24 in SPC’s favour, drawing Leger-Walker’s third foul in the process. But SPC coach and mother of Leger-Walker, Leanne Walker, rolled the dice by keeping her daughter in the game. The gamble paid off as Leger-Walker avoided picking up another foul, though the lead for her side was just 32-26 at the half.
Leger-Walker began the second half as she did the first, scoring several points to extend SPC’s lead and found the ever-moving Ella Bradley on a couple of cuts to have SPC up 50-41 at the end of the third.
It was going to be an uphill battle from there for Westlake to pick up the win but the combined efforts of Shearer and year 10 Jessica Moors ensured the game remained competitive throughout the fourth. Leger-Walker, though, proved too good as she pushed SPC into the semi-finals where they will face Auckland Girls Grammar School.
The other girls semi-final will see Melville High School face off against St Mary’s, Wellington.
Girls QF results:
SPC 65-58 Westlake GHS
Melville High School 65-47 Hamilton Girls High School
St Mary's 81-52 Hutt Valley High School
Auckland Girls’ Grammar School 76-75 Mount Albert Grammar School
Rangitoto College v Palmerston North Boys’ High School
For the second year running, Rangitoto College have beaten Palmerston North Boys High School in the playoffs of the Basketball Secondary School Nationals.
Last year it was in the grand final, though this time around the teams met in the quarter-final stage of the ‘AA’ draw but the same unfortunate fate was suffered by PNBHS, going down 65-54 to a plucky Rangitoto outfit.
The match-up wasn’t as drama-filled as last year’s encounter, though it did feature a similarly amazing shot at the death of the game when back-up guard Ethan Mandeno drained a step-back three-pointer to all but seal the win for boys from the North Shore.
Foul trouble would have been the issue dominating the coach’s minds for both teams across the match with PNHBS giant Callum McRae, along with Ranitoto’s Dan Fotu and Logan McIntosh, getting themselves into foul trouble throughout the second half.
It was Rangitoto who showed they had the depth to overcome that foul trouble, with Mandeno and Logan Anderson picking up the scoring responsibilities that Fotu and McIntosh left behind.
After very much a back-and-forth opening three quarters, Logan McIntosh re-entered the game and it was his hot end to the third and beginning to the fourth gave Rangitoto the edge they needed.
Fellow Logan – Logan Anderson – decided to get in on the fun, erupting for his own mini-run which put Rangitoto up 56-44 midway through the final period.
By then it was time for McRae to return to the court and he provided stability for PNBHS as he found his way to the free-throw line on several occasions.
Rangitoto’s depth helped keep PNBHS at arm’s length, though, and it was the Mandeno three with less than a minute remaining that proved to be the dagger, sending Rangitoto through to tomorrow’s semi-final where they will meet Mt Albert Grammar School.
The other boys AA semi-final will be between Christ’s College and Rosmini College.
Boys QF results:
Rangitoto 65-54 PNBHS
Rosmini College 91-75 Rongotai College
Mount Albert Grammar School 68-50 Westlake Boys’ High School
Christ's College 79-74 Auckland Grammar School
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