Un­der-13s win na­tion­als’ spots

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Porirua’s tradition of bas­ket­ball ex­cel­lence con­tin­ues, with both boys and girls’ un­der- 13 sides per­form­ing strongly at the re­gional tour­na­ment in New Ply­mouth re­cently.

Both sides have made it through to the na­tion­als, to be hosted in Tau­ranga in Oc­to­ber. The boys fin­ished top qual­i­fier from this re­gion, ahead of Welling­ton and Hutt Val­ley, while the girls made it to their fi­nal, los­ing to Taranaki Coun­try.

Boys’ coach Lester Mohi says they had to do it tough, only tak­ing up seven play­ers due to other com­mit­ments and in­el­i­gi­bil­ity be­cause of age. Their seventh mem­ber was only 10 years old.

‘‘I de­cided to be quite strate­gic and play a tight de­fence, which worked out for us. We only had one player of any great size, but these boys were great, they ran them­selves ab­so­lutely ragged. They con­sis­tently made good choices [out on court].’’

They fin­ished tied on the same points with two other teams in their pool and then knocked over Welling­ton in post-pool play for third/fourth to en­sure a spot at na­tion­als.

The team won five of their six games and the loss was by three points to Taranaki Coun­try.

‘‘We’ll have a good seed­ing for na­tion­als, it’s a very sat­is­fy­ing feel­ing.’’

Mohi says they have great fam­ily sup­port and draw their play­ers from ‘‘all of Porirua’s com­pass points’’, from Pukerua Bay to Whitby and eastern Porirua schools.

Be­fore the na­tion­als he said a bit more re­cruit­ing – es­pe­cially one or two ‘‘big men’’ – may be needed to bol­ster their num­bers.

The girls’ coach Brett Jar­man was also proud of his team’s per­for­mances in New Ply­mouth, where they also won five from six. They lost the fi­nal to Taranaki Coun­try.

His charges have been prac­tis­ing to­gether since Fe­bru­ary and the com­mit­ment and en­thu­si­asm is a huge part of their suc­cess. Five girls are in their first year play­ing the sport.

‘‘When they get on court they’re de­ter­mined to do well. We’re a very quick team, these guys run hard.

‘‘Our pur­pose is to play good bas­ket­ball – en­joy it, and the score sorts it­self out. They had a ball over that week­end [at re­gion­als].’’

Ains­leyana Puleiata and Cheyne Copeland have pro­gressed to the next stage of New Zealand un­der-13 se­lec­tion camps.

Jar­man says there will be plenty of fundrais­ing, with sup­port from the community, be­fore Tau­ranga, where they will be com­pet­ing against the best other 15 teams in the coun­try ‘‘to find out how we com­pare’’.

‘‘If we come first or 16th, it will be fine, ev­ery­one will have fun.’’

Win­ning at­ti­tude: Porirua un­der-13 coach Lester Mohi with his team in New Ply­mouth re­cently, where they won five of six matches.

Pho­tos: SUP­PLIED

Girl power: The Porirua girls matched their male coun­ter­parts with a suc­cess­ful run at the re­gional tour­na­ment, and are now look­ing for­ward to the na­tion­als in Oc­to­ber.

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