Teen bas­ket­ballers with a bright fu­ture

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PHILLIP ROLLO

The lat­est crop of Tas­man un­der15 basketball play­ers will be worth keep­ing an eye on in the fu­ture.

In a cur­rent cli­mate where suc­cess has been rare on the na­tional stage for teams rep­re­sent­ing the top of the south, the Tas­man boys trav­elled to Dunedin and sur­passed their own ex­pec­ta­tions by mak­ing it all the way to the na­tional fi­nal.

They even­tu­ally lost to Hawke’s Bay 85-81 in over-time.

Coach Ed Book said he was proud of his team who came to­gether with lit­tle preparation to pro­duce a se­ries of re­mark­able per­for­mances as they ac­counted for some tra­di­tional heavy­weights in­clud­ing Otago (94-74), South­land (83-40), Waikato (76-70), North Har­bour (79-72) and Waitakere West (85-78).

It was the first time that a Tas­man un­der-15 side has reached the fi­nal of a na­tional tour­na­ment.

‘‘Our goal go­ing into the tour­na­ment was to make the top eight so they did achieve that goal.

‘‘I said to them if we make top eight then we need to re­visit it and make a new goal. The new goal was to make the top four and we achieved that too so the next goal was to make the fi­nal,’’ Book said.

Book said it was great to beat No 1 seeds North Har­bour in the quar­ter­fi­nal, par­tic­u­larly af­ter a cheeky re­mark they had made to the Tas­man play­ers ear­lier in the tour­na­ment.

‘‘There was a lit­tle bit of ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion be­cause we were stay­ing with North Har­bour at Otago Boys’ High School and as some of the boys walked past them they yelled out ‘we can’t wait to play Waitakere West in the semi­fi­nal’.

‘‘So they were pretty con­fi­dent to win and they weren’t even wor­ried about us.’’

De­spite com­ing out on the los­ing end, Book said Tas­man were ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’ in the fi­nal with Toby Wite­hira ty­ing the score up at 72-72 and send­ing the game to over-time.

Hawke’s Bay went on to con­struct a six-point lead in the ex­tra pe­riod though and Tas­man was un­able to reel them in.

‘‘They worked so hard. To lose in over-time by four points was fan­tas­tic.

‘‘Even just to play to get us into over-time was amaz­ing.’’

Josh Book and Jay Marsh, two of the side’s star per­form­ers, were named in the tour­na­ment team af­ter scor­ing 32 points and 26 points in the de­cider.

Book said the team’s per­for­mance was a promis­ing sign for basketball in the top of the south and he is hop­ing the suc­cess will flow through to the older age grades in the fu­ture.

BASKETBALL NEW ZEALAND

The Tas­man un­der-15 boys’ basketball team, top row from left: Cam Inglis, Toby Wite­hira, Jay Marsh, Vili Pale, Jaskaran Singh, Mar­shall Stan­ley and bot­tom row from left: Heath Lyon, Josh Book, Dion Taikato, and Luke Shirley.

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