The following article was written for College Sport Wellington and first published in early September 2023 - before the Nationals which Wellington College won. Photo credit above: Masa, Photo Wellington.
Troy Plumtree (Year 12) is from a high-profile rugby family. His father John coached the Hurricanes, Wellington and the All Blacks. Older brother Reece has won three Jubilee Cup titles with Old Boys University and middle brother Taine is a Welsh international.
Troy thinks of little else but basketball. In the past fortnight, he's played seven matches helping Wellington College win the Pohlen Trophy and qualify for Nationals in late September by finishing second at the AA Zone 3 Regionals in Napier.
Wellington arrived home from the Zone tourney at 2 a.m. Sunday morning and was training again on Monday night.
Capital supremacy was the major focus in the bundle of fixtures and Plumtree delivered big time by scoring a game-high 30 points in the 109-104 win over St Patrick's College Silverstream in the Pohlen Trophy final on August 25.
Wellington won the title for just the second time since 1995 and achieving the feat for Plumtree came with added motivation.
“I missed the final we lost to them last year with a broken wrist,” he said.
“It was an awesome game, but I was absolutely gutted not to be involved.
“We hadn’t beaten Silverstream this year, but we had a good plan that worked. They run a hard defensive press, so we wanted to swing the ball quickly get them tired and avoid foul trouble.
“We were down by ten points in the second quarter but that wasn’t a big deal because we were down by 20 to them earlier in the season and only lost by two. We blew them away in the third quarter before they came back. It was a pretty wild game, and the crowd was nuts.”
Plumtree gave the boisterous crowd of more than 3,000 at the Akau Tangi Sports Centre plenty to cheer about. The 90kg, 6 ft 6, guard had his best game in a Wellington College singlet.
“I’d never scored that many points before in a game that mattered so much,” Plumtree said.
“I shot the ball well and landed four three-pointers which felt good. My job is to attack the rim hard, get lots of rebounds and press defensively which sometimes makes it hard to avoid fouls.
“The final was really special for our coaches and Year 13 boys like Murphy Rodgers, Ieremia Morris and Ezekiel Whitfield who have been awesome.”
Wellington carried on their momentum last week at the AA Zone 3 Regionals in Napier. Wins over Wairarapa College (135-63), St Patrick’s College, Wellington (119-68), Napier Boys’ High School (107-91), New Plymouth Boys’ High School (112-81) and Palmerston North Boys’ High School (96-78) secured a spot at Nationals which are being held at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North from September 25 to 30. There are 24 teams nationwide competing.
Plumtree was the top scorer for Wellington College at Regionals but sat out the final which Wellington lost to Silverstream who impressively swept all seven of their matches.
“We didn’t want to win that bad after making Nationals,” Plumtree said.
“We rested a few of our guys whereas they were desperate to pay us back from the Wellington final. I can’t wait for Nationals. It’s going to be intense.”
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