The National Secondary Schools AA Basketball Championships concluded at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North today and new champions were anointed after two gripping finals.
Reports of the two finals below and tournament teams.
Despite a herculean effort by Charlisse Leger-Walker, St Mary’s College, Wellington, are the new National Champions after beating St Peter’s Cambridge 68-62 in the final.
Leger-Walker scored an incredible 48 points as she almost single-handedly won the game by herself. Such was her individual dominance it took 14 minutes until another teammate scored a solitary point, Alana Paewai hit a free throw. Combined, Leger-Walker’s teammates missed their first 10 shots from the field.
St Mary’s more socialist approach was ultimately the telling difference in a fiercely competitive contest
With 3.13 left, St Mary’s desperately snaffled three offensive rebounds and Renee Savai’inaea hit a three-pointer to extend their lead to 64-55, the largest of the match.
Leger-Walker revived hopes of an improbable comeback when she scored the next seven points on the trot, including a long three to close the gap to 64-62. She also made a crucial defensive spoil to stop a certain St Mary’s bucket from a fast break.
With 1.33 left a Leger-Walker jumper rattled in and out and Savai’inaea was able to convert a two and stretch the Catholics’ lead to 66-62. St Peter’s was forced to foul in order to stop the clock. Savai’inaea and Sariah Penese were able to hit free throws while the Waikato championships were astray in the last minute.
The match was close throughout with St Mary’s leading 21-16 at quarter-time, 33-30 at halftime and 51-48 at three quarter time.
St Mary’s did extend to 27-19 at one stage, but Ella Bradley caught fire briefly and scored six successive points to tighten proceedings again.
St Mary’s defence was a pivotal factor in their triumph outrebounding St Peter’s 53-38. St. Peter’s only got one point from their bench.
Savai’inaea (18 points), Terrelle Onesemo (13 points) and Grace Hunter (11 points) was proof of St Mary’s greater balance.
Rosmini College have won the National title for the first time since 2011, defeating fellow North Shore rivals and defending champions Rangitoto College 87-79.
The game changed early in the third quarter when Rangitoto ace Daniel Fotu incurred his fourth personal foul and was forced to sit out the remainder of the period.
Rosmini was able to push ahead by ten points with Marvin Williams-Dunn nailing two long range triples.
Rosmini was able to maintain the lead courtesy of energetic hustle on defence. Ironically little men Kruz Perrott-Hutt (who eventually fouled out) Williams-Dunn, Terence Abdon and Mitchell Dance were at the heart of the resistance.
Fotu checked back into the game early in the fourth quarter and hit double digits in the period, but lacked support down the stretch,
Rosmini was spared penalty for their awful free throwing shooting which included six consecutive misses and a final count of 16/36.
The first-half was a top display of offense with Rangitoto leading 46-45 at the main interval. Rangitoto shoot 20/38 from the field and Rosmini 17-30.
The largest lead gained by Rangitoto was 26-20 which was quickly erased by six straight Mitchell Dance points.
William Tuaputa-Heather was in fine form initially for Rosmini scoring 10 of the first 20 points, but was he carried off the court at the end of the first quarter injured.
He returned in the second-quarter with a heavily bandaged ankle, but was still lame and was spelled until halftime.
Manfully Heather battled on and managed to contribute five further points.
Dance showed why he was tournament MVP. In addition to scoring 26 points he collected 10 rebounds, six of which were offensive regathers.
Williams-Dunn finished with 17 points for Rosmini. Fotu top scored for Rangitoto with 28. The next highest contributor was Logan McIntosh with 15.
Boys Tournament Team
Tom Higgins Auckland Grammar
Daniel Fotu Rangitoto
Oscar Oswald – Palmerston North
Max Darling – Christ’s
Logan McIntosh – Rangitoto
Mandela Baledrokadroka – MAGS
Mitchell Dance – Rosmini – MVP
Kruz Perrott-Hunt - Rosmini
Peter Jenkins – Rosmini
Max De Geest – Christ’s
Girls Tournament Team
Kaylee Smiler - Melville High School
Grace Hunter – St Mary Wellington
Charlisse Leger-Walker – St Peter’s - MVP
Renee Savai’inaea - St Mary’s
Leah Mafua - Hutt Valley High
Mele Latu – Auckland Girls GS
Koha Lewis Hamilton Girls
Sariah Penese – St Mary’s
Sharn Pupeke-Robati – MAGS
Ella Bradley – St Peter’s
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