Due to international commitments a number of teams, including all four Premier Boy’s teams, are going to be missing players (and in some cases coaches also) for Friday’s Auckland Secondary Schools Premier League semi-finals.
Let’s start with the tournaments and events that unfortunately coincide with the business end of the Premier competition and the players that are involved.
Tall Blacks in Japan and Australia playing Canada in Sydney (August 20 and 21).
Taine Murray (Rosmini College)
11thBasketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia Camp in Tokyo (August 14-17) for top prospectsaged 17 and under.
Jazz Kailahi-Fulu (St Mary’s)
Emme Shearer (Westlake Girls)
Harry Payne (Rangitoto College)
Dallas Clayton (Rangitoto College)
2019 FIBA U18 3v3 Asia Cup in Cyberjaya, Malaysia (August 22-24)
Emme Shearer (Westlake Girls)
Jordyn Maddix (Westlake Girls)
Shalom Broughton (St Kentigern College)
Marvin Williams-Dunn (Rosmini College)
2019 FIBA U17 Oceania Cup in Noumea, New Caledonia (August 19-24)
Jess Moors (Westlake Girls)
Bronwen Davidson (Westlake Girls)
Alex McNaught (St Kentigern College)
Connor Ngan (Auckland Grammar)
Sean Murphy (Rosmini College)
Reihana Maxwell-Topia (Rosmini College)
Matt Lacey (Rosmini College)
Aaron Young (St Kentigern College)
Lindsay Tait (Auckland Grammar)
The above is quite a list so let’s take a look at what this all means for the Premier semi-finals.
St Kentigern College (#1) v Auckland Grammar (#4).
Well for a start both head coaches will be away at the U17 Oceania Cup acting as assistants to Aaron Fearne.
However both teams have more than capable deputies waiting in the wings with Kazlo Evans Snr taking charge of St Kent’s in the absence of Aaron Young and the coaching tandem of Dave Mackay and Ang Perrott-Hunt stepping in for Lindsay Tait.
Tough to replace will be opposing point guards Connor Ngan (AGS) and Alex McNaught (St Kents), also bound for Noumea. Whichever team copes best without their playmaker will likely progress to the final.
Should St Kent’s win they will have an additional curve ball to negotiate with Shalom Broughton an additional non-starter for the final as he is headed to Malaysia with the NZ U18 3×3 team.
Rangitoto College (#2) v Rosmini College (#3)
Kenny Stone is the only Boy’s Head Coach left standing as Matt Lacey is joining Tait and Young in New Caledonia therefore handing the Rosmini reins to long time side-kick Sonny Tuaputa.
The disruption doesn’t stop there as Rosmini will be without three players for the game against Rangi and four players the following week, should they progress.
Taine Murray is absent on Tall Blacks duty in Japan and Australia, whilst Sean Murphy and Reihana Maxwell-Topia are accompanying Lacey to New Caledonia. Marvin Williams-Dunn is available this week but absent the following week with the NZ U18 3×3 team.
Rangitoto’s absenteeism isn’t as great but it’s still a major disruption. Captain Harry Payne and forward Dallas Clayton flew out to Japan on Monday to attend the prestigiousBasketball Without Borders Asia Camp in Tokyo.
Clayton is due back for the second week of the play-offs but Payne is a late addition to the New Zealand U17 team so he will head straight to New Caledonia from Japan and will therefore be missing both weeks.
Westlake Girls (#2) v Rangitoto College (#3)
Rangitoto College should be at full strength provided coach Josh Davies is restored to full health.
The same can’t be said about Westlake who will have their envied depth of talent put to the test.
Head Coach Bronwen Davidson heads to New Caledonia as an assistant for the NZ U17 team and takes Jess Moors with her. Already without Mareta Davidson who suffered a season ending shoulder injury a few weeks ago they will be without skipper Jordyn Maddix the following week.
If that wasn’t enough they will be without Emme Shearer for both weeks. The athletic guard is off on an Asian tour headed to the Basketball Without Borders Camp prior to the U18 3×3 in Indonesia.
St Mary’s College (#1) v Massey High (#4)
This is the game that has suffered the least number of withdrawals. St Mary’s forward Jazz Kailahi-Fulu is the only absentee as she is in Tokyo at the Basketball Without Borders Camp but is expected back for the second week of the play-offs.
The absence of 14 players and 4 coaches away at international events serves testimony to the quality of high school basketball in Auckland and despite their absence it won’t detract from the intensity of the semi-finals.