The Lacey Lowdown was able to bring you unrivalled coverage of the 2022 Auckland Secondary Schools Basketball season thanks to the support of Nigel Morgan and the team at Dynamic Sport New Zealand.
With the dust finally settling on the high school basketball season, following the conclusion of the Secondary Schools National Championships, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the successes enjoyed by teams and individuals during 2022.
Representing your country at a World Cup must be a great thrill so let’s begin by acknowledging the following Auckland athletes who played at the FIBA U17 World Cup in Spain in July:
Julius Halaifonua – Rosmini College
Dante Matakatea – Mt Albert Grammar School
William Passi – Manurewa High School
Kalid Petzer – Auckland Grammar School
Brody Perry – Pukekohe High School
Will Shortt – Auckland Grammar School
George Turner – St Kentigern College
All of the above missed a chunk of games for their schools as they also played at the FIBA Asia Cup in June – the team finishing a highly creditable third to claim bronze.
In the local competitions the Boys Premier Grade title was claimed by Rosmini College after they defeated Auckland Grammar 61-54 in an entertaining Final.
The Senior A title was deservedly claimed by St Peter’s College although they needed overtime to see off the challenge of Avondale College before winning a high scoring encounter 104-99.
St Peter’s won all 14 regular season games, and both play-off fixtures, to complete an unbeaten season.
Then it was on to the Nationals Qualifying Tournament (Zone 1 Premierships) which was won by St Kentigern College, comfortably defeating Westlake Boys 96-71 in the Final, ahead of the return to Palmerston North.
Joining St Kent’s and Westlake on the pilgrimage to the first National Champs since 2019 (which St Kent’s won) were Auckland Grammar, Rangitoto College, Rosmini College, Mt Albert Grammar and Sacred Heart College.
At Nationals Rosmini made it all the way to the championship game, for the fourth time in as many years, but were undone by an outstanding Christ’s College (Christchurch) team going down 87-52 in the Grand Final.
Auckland schools took five of the top nine spots in Palmy to re-emphasise that the City of Sails is still the main hub of boys high school hoops in New Zealand.
In other play-off results MAGS were pipped 87-80 by Waimea College (Nelson) 87-80 in the 5th/6th contest while Auckland Grammar edged St Kent’s 91-86 in the 7th/8th play-off.
Rangitoto College finished 9th after defeating Palmerston North Boys High 74-61 on the final day while Westlake had to settle for 13th place and Sacred Heart 20th.
Special mention to Sacred Heart who were competing at their first ever National Championships and congratulations to co-coaches, and cousins, Tayla Robinson and Mike Robinson on a job well done.
Talking of jobs well done Kenny Stone has called time on his coaching career at Rangitoto College after 9 years of service.
During that time he took Rangitoto to numerous titles including two National Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Back to the playing front and it’s worth pointing out that Dontae-Russo Nance (St Kent’s), Tautoko Wynyard (Rangitoto) and Kahu Treacher (AGS) departed for high school in the States between the completion of the Nationals Qualifying Tournament and the actual National Champs.
You imagine their presence would have aided the cause of those schools but it’s a brand new phenomena that more schools will likely have to deal with in the future.
Now back to recognizing our other international players.
The U18 Men’s National team was selected to compete at the FIBA U18 Asia Cup but travelling to Iran proved to be problematic. However it is fitting to recognize the players selected:
Tom Beattie (Rosmini)
Charlie Dalton (Rosmini)
Dontae Russo-Nance (St Kentigern)
Tautoko Wynyard (Rangitoto)
Selected for next month’s FIBA U15 Oceania Champs in Guam are:
Gus Dallow (St Peter’s)
Jameer Reed (Rosmini)
Merrick Rillstone (St Kentigern)
Cooper LePou (St Kentigern)