More hur­dles than most

Bas­ket­ballers beat odds

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Bishop Viard Col­lege se­nior boys’ bas­ket­ball team have won the Welling­ton sec­ond di­vi­sion without even hav­ing their own court to prac­tice on.

The team say the close friend­ships within the team and pray­ing be­fore ev­ery game have given them the edge, and was a source of en­cour­age­ment, even when they had to prac­tice out­doors in the rain.

Viard col­lege stu­dents some­times use the small hall for sports prac­tice, though ex­ams and bad­minton prac­tices mean it’s of­ten not avail­able for bas­ket­ball.

Play­ing out­side is prob­lem­atic, coach Raewyn Jan­son says, be­cause proper in­door bas­ket­ball shoes and balls are dam­aged by the con­crete sur­faces, and play­ers are at risk of de­vel­op­ing shin splints.

The team use a wonky por­ta­ble hoop, which is by no means ideal, they say, point­ing at an ob­vi­ous droop and lack of sta­bil­ity.

‘‘This is what we play on – all the other schools have flash new in­door courts. We’re the only school in New Zealand that doesn’t have a gym – the only se­condary school,’’ Ms Jan­son says.

Lack of a court also means they can’t have home games at the school, and were only able to book a court a Te Rau­paraha Arena for one home game this year.

But the team also had to over­come an­other dif­fi­culty – most had never played com­pet­i­tive bas­ket­ball be­fore this year.

‘‘Half of these peo­ple are soc­cer play­ers or rugby play­ers,’’ says Kris Gibb, the team cap­tain. ‘‘It was al­ways just to have fun, and ev­ery­one picked up the game real fast.

‘‘ Ev­ery­one got so much bet­ter. They might not have known the rules, they might not have known how to play the game, but at the end of the sea­son they knew they had the skills,’’ he says.

The fi­nal against Kapiti Col­lege at Te Rau­paraha Arena on Au­gust 17 was a nail­biter, and could have gone ei­ther way, says coach Jan­son.

The game was even through the first half, then down by five in the third-quar­ter, Jan­son called a time-out and team was able to re­fo­cus.

‘‘Then in the last quar­ter Kapiti got a three-pointer, and Jor­dan [Jan­son, the guard,] replied with a three-pointer, which re­ally just stepped us up.

‘‘And then we just nailed it, we were on fire,’’ says the coach.

‘‘Ev­ery­body was just jump­ing and do­ing ev­ery­thing, go­ing after ev­ery­thing, we were all cheer­ing and prais­ing ev­ery­body, and we just got stuck in.’’

The team won 54 to 43, and will play in the first di­vi­sion next year.

‘‘It was the best feel­ing when we won – we haven’t won it since 1995,’’ says Gibb.

Mate­ship: The Bishop Viard di­vi­sion two se­nior boys team say the se­cret to their di­vi­sion­top­ping suc­cess is their friend­ships. From left, Kris Gibb (cap­tain), Wade Me­leah, Zac Foae­seF­lutey, Jor­dan Jan­son, David Landy and Jonathan Brunt.

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