When defending champions Hastings Boys' High School left for the Super 8 basketball tournament, coach Curtis Wooten left the shield behind.

It can be presumed Wooten did so because team confidence was so high that the shield was going to return to the school's trophy cabinet - so why bother lugging it down to Palmerston North and back.

As it turned out Hawke's Bay archrivals Napier Boys' High School had other plans.

The Super 8 underdogs not only beat HBHS 76-67 in pool play but went on to assume the mantle of giant killers after they lifted the shield at Arena Manawatu on Wednesday when the three-day tourney ended.


"I didn't know the shield had been left behind in Hastings until after we had won the final so I'm not too sure about that one," said a jovial Damion Davies, who co-coaches the NBHS side with twin brother and fellow ex-Bay Hawk Dwayne.

However, Wooten last night said leaving the shield behind was an oversight. "To be honest, when we left here I hadn't even thought about it at all."

The former Hawks coach said HBHS are happier to have lost the shield to their neighbouring rivals, rather than the other favourites.

Davies said the NBHS players were quietly confident they could win the title although when they got there they discovered Hamilton Boys' High, Tauranga Boys' College and New Plymouth Boys High were the favourites.

While NBHS have won the odd game between the schools in the past few years, HBHS have had the wood on them.

"Hastings have always been stronger but I don't think they're as strong now as they have been in previous years.

"Under Curtis' coaching though you can never count Hastings out," Davies said.

Wooten said one bad quarter cost them the game against NBHS.


"We were up by five points at halftime but then got outscored 28-8 in the third quarter," he said.

HBHS, Wooten said, then won the last quarter 25-10.

"We just ran out of minutes."

NBHS started on a losing note, going down 78-69 to Hamilton Boys but bounced right back in the next game to crush Gisborne Boys' High 89-47 before taking care of HBHS.

The Jaxson Macfarlane and Malcolm Doherty co-captained Sky Blues beat an undefeated Tauranga Boys 76-68 in the semifinals before overwhelming New Plymouth Boys 75-64.

That was despite NBHS trailing by 18 points at halftime.

It has been more than a decade (2005 last win) since NBHS have won the Super 8 crown.

It's a special moment for the sibling coaches who also spearhead the school's junior programme after taking over from teacher and Hawks NBL coach Kirstin Daly-Taylor.

The brothers were NBHS players in the senior A team who won in 2001 under coach Shane Brown, now the Hawks assistant coach.

"I have two sons in there [senior A team] and I always talk to them about how I won and being a passionate old boy, so it's a bonus to coach the team," he said of sons Tyrese and Isaiah Davies.

Dwayne's two sons, Cruz and Tylah, also are in the champion side.

Tyrese Davies was named in the tournament team with Macfarlane and cousin Cruz, who also was declared finals MVP.

The other filial tie stems from co-skipper Doherty, whose father Kyle is the team manager.

Skills and fitness aside, Davies said the glue was a sense of kinship.

"I thought if we had the right attitude and effort we could compete with anyone as long as we had that brotherhood - before we even talk about the fundamentals of the game."

While Macfarlane, who has NZ academy duties in the US and Cruz Davies played vital roles, everyone shouldered responsibilities after Tyler Crosby and Doherty got injured.

With Daly-Taylor and ex-Hawk andteacher Murray Barker paving a path, Davies said old boys developed a five-year plan which was implemented to make NBHS competitive again.

"To have it happen in three years is pretty special and we've got a good bunch of juniors who are one of the best teams in the country as well."

The juniors compete at their nationals from June 26-28 and the seniors will aim to prevail early next month to qualify for the nationals.

No doubt, they have no intentions of getting too far ahead of themselves after this week's success.

-Final placings: 1 NBHS, 2 New Plymouth BHS, 3 Tauranga Boys College, 4 Hamilton BHS, 5 Palmerston North BHS, 6 HBHS, 7 Gisborne BHS, 8 Rotorua BHS.