Bas­ket­ball play­ers right on tar­get

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Porirua will al­ways be un­der­es­ti­mated at na­tional age group bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments — and that’s not a bad thing.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the lat­est batch of play­ers to earn New Zealand colours, af­ter an im­pres­sive under- 13 tour­na­ment last month.

Porirua’s under-13 girls’ team came a cred­itable fifth out of 20 teams, knock­ing over Welling­ton, Ro­torua, Hi­bis­cus Coast, Waitakere and Taranaki on the way.

Porirua were eas­ily one of the best de­fen­sive teams, coach Brett Jar­man said, and cap­tain Har­mony Hunter was cho­sen for the tour­na­ment team.

Hunter and team-mate Tyla Ward-Napier were se­lected for the na­tional under-14 team and Ro­dah Rameka was named as a re­serve. All three girls are only 12.

Jar­man said Te­sara- Rose Faleafaga, Porirua’s lead­ing de­fender, was un­lucky to be omit­ted.

Rameka said the na­tion­als were a great bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the team and they would have liked to have fin­ished higher than fifth.

‘‘It was good and a lot of teams didn’t ex­pect us to do so well,’’ she said.

‘‘Porirua’s a small place and they un­der­es­ti­mate us.’’

Rameka, Hunter and WardNapier said sup­port from fam­ily and spon­sors was cru­cial to get to places like Dunedin and to Aus­tralia in Jan­uary with the New Zealand under-14s.

The Aus­tralian trip will cost $3800 for each girl. Spon­sors and fun­ders such as Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion, North City Auto Ltd, Mitre 10 Mega, Coastal Fas­ten­ers and Tegel Foods had made much of the travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion pos­si­ble, the girls said.

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