Teen basketballers with a bright future
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.
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.