More hurdles than most
Basketballers beat odds
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.