St. Patrick’s College, Town have enhanced their growing reputation in 2016 by adding a Zone title to their Wellington Secondary Schools basketball crown.
Corey Le’aupepe says a valuable lesson was learned in pool play when Town stumbled to New Plymouth BHS.
“We came out real tentative in that game and fell behind by more than 20 points. We managed to cut the deficit in half, but we left ourselves with too much work to do. Our coach Frank Mulvihill has a saying, ‘think quick, don’t hurry.’ It means make smart, decisive decisions. We didn’t do that,” Le’aupepe concedes.
An easy win against Lindisfarne College lured Town into a false sense of security.
“We won that game easily, but took our foot off the pedal because we could get away with it,” Le’aupepe admits.
The most impressive victory in Pool Play was the 82-50 trouncing of Super 8 Champions Napier BHS.
“I was surprised we won that game as easily as we did. They are a good side, but we managed to shut down their key scorers from the outset and they struggled,” Le’aupepe recalls.
Palmerston North BHS boasts the tallest player in the country in seven-foot giant Callum McRae. Le’aupepe was assigned the task of marking McRae in the semi-finals.
“That was a tough ask. He is a tough object to move. I tried to be as physical as possible and let him know I was there. Unfortunately I fouled out in the last quarter.”
Despite Le’aupepe ‘s premature exit, Town led by two points late in the game. Le’aupepe explains what happened next.
“They had two free throws to tie the game. They missed both and we managed to hang on to the ball and run down the clock. That game was the definition of a team effort. It was the highlight of the tournament,” Le’aupepe acclaims.
Town was again haunted by their slow starts in the final against New Plymouth, but recovered quickly to lead after the first quarter and for the remainder of the match.
Town will face New Plymouth again at the Nationals in Palmerston North next week. Town’s group also features: Auckland Grammar School, Christ’s College, Nelson College and Mount Albert Grammar School. Auckland GS, who finished in the top four in Auckland, is arguably the toughest threat.
St Pat’s Town’s Road To The Title
Pool Play: Lindisfarne College, 97-62
Pool Play: Napier BHS, 82-50
Pool Play: New Plymouth BHS, 70-83
Pool Play: Feilding High School, 87-56
Quarter-Final: Hutt Valley High School, 93-50
Semi-Final: Palmerston North BHS, 70-68
Final: New Plymouth BHS 84-73
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