An entertaining, keenly fought, Auckland Secondary Schools Boys Premier Grand Final went the way of Rosmini College with a 61-54 victory against Auckland Grammar School on Thursday night.
When Cody Brown, In front of a boisterous crowd at Eventfinda Stadium, gave Grammar their first lead of the game early in the final period it was the away fans that had most to cheer.
There was even more for those fans to celebrate at the mid-point of the fourth when forward Will Shortt connected from beyond the arc to stretch the Grammar lead to 5 points (49-44).
Having been held to just 13 points in the previous 15 minutes the Rosmini offense suddenly sprung to life. An inside basket from Julius Halaifonua proceeded a game tying triple from Tom Beattie and a go ahead basket from Jameer Reed to put Rosmini ahead 51-49 with 2:30 to play.
The two team had struggled to shoot the ball consistently throughout the game and the trend continued in the final couple of minutes as both relied on trips to the foul line for points.
Shortt and Beattie exchanged free throws but inside the final 60 seconds a couple of Grammar turnovers proved costly as they were punished by Rosmini – Dalton and Beattie making no mistake from the charity stripe on both occasions.
Josh Muggleston made a late three but it was too little to affect the outcome.
Earlier Rosmini had opened with a 12-2 burst and were still ahead at quarter time (16-10).
Brown and Ryan Hunt featured strongly for Grammar in the second but Dalton and Halaifonua maintained the Rosmini advantage at half time (31-22).
Grammar began to find some offensive fluidity in the third – Shortt and Jackson Kiss helping narrow the deficit to 41-38 at three-quarter time.
Muggleston and Brown quickly erased the arrears at the start of the fourth to set up a tense finish.
Rosmini 60 – Beattie 24, Dalton 14, Halaifonua 11
AGS 54 – Muggleston 15, Brown 13, Shortt 12, Kiss 6