Defending champions Rangitoto College Boys and St Peter’s, Cambridge Girls remain on course for successful title defences after comfortable quarter-final victories on Day four of the National Secondary School Championships in Palmerston North on Thursday.
Rangitoto led 38-28 at half-time against Rosmini College who, led by centre Will Heather, surged to within a single point, 42-41 at the back end of the third quarter.
Rangitoto had been run down by Rosmini in the fourth quarter of the Auckland Prems Final just over a month ago but were in no mood to allow history to repeat itself in this one.
Rangi got 21 points out of Sam Waardenburg but it was the the lesser lights ZacK Te Puni and Kaycee Anibueze who provided the spark in the fourth quarter to nail the win.
Rangi led just 48-43 at three-quarter time but Te Puni inside and Anibueze cutting and driving prompted a 14-2 run. Dan Fotu then nailed a corner three to extend the lead to 62-45 and it was game over. Final score 71-52.
In other Boys quarter-finals Auckland Grammar, with Taki Fahrensohn to the fore, won a high scoring encounter against Christchurch Boys High School 103-93.
Another points bonanza was won by hosts Palmerston North Boys High School but only just. With big man Callum McRae in good form they led by over 20 points but had to survive a late Westlake Boys charge before edging home 97-94.
The fourth tie went the way of New Plymouth Boys High School who accounted for a valiant Kelston Boys 84-75.
In the semi-finals Rangitoto College will play Auckland Grammar in an all Auckland affair leaving Zone three rivals New Plymouth and Palmerston North to battle for the other grand final place.
St Peter’s Girls just purr along having little trouble against New Plymouth Girls High School. Once again the St Peter’s effort was built around defence giving up just 36 points in a dominating 60-36 performance.
If St Peter’s are to go back to back they will have to do it against the best that Auckland can throw at them.
Westlake Girls, unbeaten since the opening day loss to Mt Albert, will be their semi-final opponents. They breezed past Waimea 91-59 so now the Zone I Premiership champs face the Zone 2 Premiership champs for a place in the final.
Should St Peter’s win they will then face another City of Sails opponent as semi-final tw0 is an all Auckland affair between traditional rivals Mt Albert Grammar and Auckland Girls Grammar.
Mt Albert’s fairytale run continued as they disposed of Melville High 76-55 while Auckland won a thriller, 66-63, against Hamilton Girls High School.
Looks like a day in front of the little screen on Friday watching semi-final action courtesy of Maori TV live streaming.