‘Greedy’ girl picked
Ainsleyana Va’aipu Puleiata’s fine season between the hoops has been capped with her selection in the New Zealand under-14 basketball team.
‘‘It was shocking but I was so happy,’’ the 12-year-old guard said of making the squad.
She had to do it the hard way too, travelling to a basketball camp in Cambridge, after missing the Wellington trial due to representative netball commitments.
The selectors liked what they saw. Puleiata was the only player from the Wellington region to make the national team, who will head to Australia in January to compete in their state championships.
For now, her focus is on helping Porirua at the nationals, in Tauranga in October. The team has recently had training games against both their Wellington and Porirua male counterparts with encouraging results. They lost by only two and four points respectively.
‘‘We’re confident, we have a good team,’’ she says.
Puleiata, who attends Windley School, has been nurtured by Porirua coach Brett Jarman.
‘‘He inspired me to give basketball a go and I enjoy training and playing. I like the fact you can be a bit more greedy with the ball [unlike netball].’’
She hopes to one day represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games.
Having a ball: Athletics, flag football and netball are sports Ainsleyana Va’aipu Puleiata enjoys but it is in basketball she is making her mark at national level.