Sixty nine teams set out to win one of four titles up for grabs at the 2022 Basketball New Zealand Secondary Schools National Championships. Only four could succeed – here is a quick summary of what prevailed.
Westlake Girls High School became the first Auckland team to win the Girls Secondary Schools National Championship since Northcote College were victorious in 2006.
Defeating St Andrew’s College, from Christchurch, 99-66 in the Final they became just the 17th winner of the C.A. Clarke and Stone Trophy – awarded to the Girls ‘AA’ National Champions.
Westlake and Northcote are the only two North Harbour teams to have won the title since it was first played for in 1969.
Runners-up St Andrew’s College, playing in their first Grand Final, were the first South Island finalists since Christchurch Girls High were victorious in 2013.
Christ’s College were excellent in the Boys Grand Final overpowering Rosmini College to win 87-52.
Christ’s, playing in their first Grand Final, became the 24th school to win the Doug Harford Trophy.
They also got a monkey off the back of the Christchurch schools boys teams as it had been almost a quarter of a century since one last appeared in a Grand Final – Aranui High School were winners in 1998.
Rosmini can take mild satisfaction from the fact that they are only the fourth school, in the 55 year history of the championships, to have contested four consecutive Grand Finals – the others were Westlake Boys (2012-2015), Church College in the 1980’s and Mairehau High School (1972-75).
Opunake High School survived a stirring fourth quarter fight back from Ngā Taiātea Wharekura to win an exciting Boys ‘A’ championship game 82-74.
Both teams were previous winners of the title – Ngā Taiātea Wharekura in 2009 and Opunake at the previous championship in 2019.
Ngā Taiātea Wharekura girls were able to do what the boys couldn’t – the Hamilton school won its first ‘A’ Girls Championship defeating Tauranga’s Aquinas College 75-49.
Ngā Taiātea Wharekura with a roll of barely 200 pupils and only a small hall to practice in deserve great credit for their achievements in the ‘A’ Championships.
I’m still staggered by the shooting performance that Ngatai Pirini-Maika achieved on Day 3 of Nationals. Establishing what must be a new Nationals individual shooting record the Te Aroha College guard made 16 3-pointers in his 50 point haul against Stratford High School!