‘Greedy’ girl picked

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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