Westlake Boys High School met Rangitoto College in the final of the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier competition at North Shore Events Centre on Thursday night.
Guard Logan Hunt found nothing but net with an early three but that produced a frenzied Rangi response as they rattled off the next 11 points including a Dan Fotu three and a soft baby hook from Tai Wynyard.
A time out from Westlake coach Phil Campbell rallied his charges and they hit the front, courtesy of a Matt Freeman triple, 20-17, at quarter time.
The initial stages of quarter two were high on intensity but low on scoring, an off balance finger roll lay up from Rosmini point guard Josiah Williams a rare highlight.
Greg Vukets capped an outstanding first half by slicing through the Rangi defence to tie the scores at 35 apiece at the half time interval.
Vukets continued his strong showing with the first four points of the second half but the third period was a stop start affair. Both teams clocked up multiple fouls; three on Wynyard and a fourth on Fotu condemned both to the bench. Neither team could capitalise from frequent visits to the foul line, normally reliable shooters unable to convert various free throw opportunities. Zac Te Puni came to the fore late in the quarter seizing on a loose ball for a breakaway dunk and then the recipient of a deft Isaac Davidson pass to edge Rangitoto ahead 54-51 at three quarter time.
Cameron Stone knocked down a couple of long threes early in the final period before Hunt replied with a couple of scores, 68-62 with 4:15 to play.
Consecutive baskets from Brayden Inger for Rangi were cancelled out as Freeman and then Hunt both made difficult fade away baseline jump shots, Rangi just ahead 70-66 with 2:30 remaining.
Tall Black Tai Wynyard converted an and one play twice in the last couple of minutes, those plays bracketing a Davidson drive as Rangi bossed the closing moments to close out a 78-69 win.
Rangitoto were worthy winners, paced by point guard Josiah Williams who was named MVP of the final. . Having lost both regular season games to Westlake and without the injured Sam Waardenburg they will head into the upcoming national’s qualifying tournament full of confidence.
Rangitoto 78 – Davidson 15, Te Puni 12, Wynyard 11, Inger 10.
Westlake 69 – Freeman 18, Vukets 17, Hunt 13.