Ahead of the re-commencement of competition on Friday here are some talking points from the first half of the Auckland Secondary Schools Premier League.
1 Both the Girl’s and Boy’s regular season titles appear to be two horse races.
St Mary’s Ponsonby (9-0) are unbeaten in the girl’s competition with Westlake (7-1) suffering just one defeat – both teams well clear of Massey (5-4), Carmel (4-5) and Rangitoto (3-4).
It’s a similar story with the Boy’s. St Kentigern (9-1) and Rangitoto (8-1) have dropped just one game each with the chasing pack some way behind. Auckland Grammar (6-4), Westlake (5-5) and Rosmini (5-4) are the closest challengers.
2 Auckland Girls Grammar and Mt Albert Grammar have been powerhouses in the girl’s competition in recent years but safe to say both are going through a rebuilding stage – MAGS with one win to date and AGGS 0-8.
3 Botany Downs withdrawing from the Girl’s Premier League is not a good look and hopefully the competition’s decision makers can take steps to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.
4 On a far more positive note the upcoming re-match between Westlake Boys and Rosmini College at Eventfinda Stadium on August 2ndcould break the regular season attendance record. A crowd of over 1,200 watched that encounter with that figure under threat this time around. Hats off to Eventfinda Stadium, Harbour Basketball and the two teams for facilitating this initiative – next step SKY Sport!
5 There is, as always, some seriously good individual talent on show each week. Here’s what some individuals have achieved this s.eason
Sam Mennenga (Westlake) and Jaga Mete (AGS) performing well at FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece where the team finished with a highly creditable 4-3 record. Sam then went on to play at theNBA Global Camp scoring a mightily impressive 27 points in the final.
Taine Murray (Rosmini) will be attending the Tall Blacks 24-man Selection Camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup. Incidentally 14 of those players have played Auckland Premier basketball in the past.
Tayla Dalton (Carmel) was a member of the first New Zealand women’s team to medal at a FIBA World Cup event when claiming silver at the 3×3 U18 World Cup in Mongolia.
Tayla and Emme Shearer (Westlake) both played major roles in the Harbour Breeze team that finished runners-up in the Women’s Basketball Championship.
6 The good news and the bad news. Firstly the good news is that the following have been selected to the NZ U17 teams to attend the FIBA Oceania Championships in New Caledonia next month.
Girls – Jess Moors (Westlake).
Boys – Campbell Atkinson (Westlake), Alex McNaught (St Kentigern), Connor Ngan (AGS), Taine Murray, Sean Murphy, Reihana Maxwell-Topia (all Rosmini).
7 The bad news is that all of the above will be ruled out of the Prems play-offs next month, should their respective teams qualify, as the trip to New Caledonia coincides with the semis and finals.
8 The additional bad news is that four of the sharpest minds in Auckland Premier basketball will also be removed from the play-offs.
Lindsay Tait (AGS), Aaron Young (St Kentigern), Matt Lacey (Rosmini) and Bronwen Davidson (Westlake Girls) will all have to hand the coaching reins to their assistants as they will also be in New Caledonia as members of the coaching teams with the U17’s.
To compound the problems for Rosmini, St Kent’s and Westlake international 3×3 basketball has deprived them of more players. Jordyn Maddix, Emme Shearer (both Westlake Girls), Shalom Broughton (St Kent’s) and Marvin Williams-Dunn (Rosmini) have this week been named to the New Zealand teams to attend the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Malaysia. Those players therefore ruled out of the second week of the play-offs.
9 It’s going to be a busy time for the Prems teams as we approach the sharp end of the season.
A number of teams face five games in three weeks to conclude the regular season then we head into Prem play-offs and then the AA Schick Premierships (Shick Nationals Qualifiers) which this year will be held at Pulman Arena (September 4-7).
10 Talking of the Premierships which Senior A teams might qualify for Nationals at the expense of Prem teams?
Well certainly in the Girl’s Tournament you have to think top of the table Epsom Girls (10-0) and second placed Baradene (9-1) will have a real chance. The top four teams in Senior A Boys all have winning records and look capable of upsetting a couple of the big dogs.
Look out for Northcote (7-3), St Peter’s (7-3), Mt Roskill (7-3) and Long Bay (6-4) to make an impression.
Teams back in action on Friday – should be a lot of fun.