HBHS 85 Tauranga 66
Super 8 basketball
THE gymnasium rocked to the rousing sounds of the Ko Wai Ra (Akina) haka from the Hastings Boys' High School students yesterday in a tribute to their basketball team's victory in the annual Super 8 competition.
In many ways it also denoted the Curtis Wooten-coached team were a vital step closer to higher national honours in early October after HBHS beat Tauranga Boys' College 85-66 in the final at the Hastings Sports Centre.
The hosts were favourites, having beaten Tauranga in pool play the day before.
However, they didn't have it all their way, trailing 15-21 in the first quarter before bouncing back in the second 26-18 (41-39).
In the third spell, HBHS lifted their game to another level, 33-11 (74-50), but the visitors failed to match that intensity.
To put it in perspective, the boys in red posted the longest scoring streak of 19 points.
Tauranga were pretty much left chasing shadows in the last quarter as both sides were guilty of finding little love from the hoop amid a rash of unforced errors and turnover balls.
Wooten said they overcame the first-quarter deficit by switching defences to man-to-man marking.
"We couldn't put it in the ocean," he said with a laugh. "They are big boys so we had to switch our style of play because they were breaking our one-three-one trap very easily."
Wooten was loathe to single out players as standouts but lauded his starting five who had played 10 consecutive games in eight days.
"It was really the whole top nine rotation."
Hastings Boys' High School have won the Super 8 title five times in almost 12 years of competition and were also the losing finalists three times.
Jacob Nahora was yesterday named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Wooten said Nahora was the school's leading rebounder, adept at gleaning shot blocks and versatile enough to play in any of the five positions on the court.
It's the premiership in four weeks at Porirua where Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu and Wellington would be represented to pick the top six teams to qualify for the national secondary school's championship in early October.
"I think St Pat's and us are the two best teams from the region," Wooten said.
"We feel there are 10 teams in the country who can win the nationals and we are one of them."