Boys team de­fends bas­ket­ball ti­tle

Teams play to place in tour­na­ment

Stratford Press - - Proud To Support All Local Sports In Our Community - By PHILIPPA SMITH

The Strat­ford High School boys and girls A bas­ket­ball teams trav­elled to Palmer­ston North in Oc­to­ber to at­tend the Schick New Zealand A Sec­ondary Schools Bas­ket­ball Na­tional Cham­pi­onship Tour­na­ment.

The A schools di­vi­sion is for co-ed schools with a role of 600 or less, which the boys won last year and had the goal of de­fend­ing their na­tional ti­tle.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the North Is­land qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment the Strat­ford High Girls Team went on to beat Te Kuiti, Te Wharekura o Mauao (Mt Maun­ganui) and Buller High School be­fore meet­ing the other un­beaten team Te Aroha.

Strat­ford lost this game to fin­ish sec­ond in their pool which meant play­ing the strong lo­cal team, Manukura, and then Te Aroha again in the third and fourth play­off.

The girls fin­ished fourth na­tion­ally.

The boys team, af­ter gain­ing the top qual­i­fy­ing spot from North Is­land games, went through their pool un­beaten with wins over Ran­giora New Life School, Tai Wananga (Palmer­ston North), Te Aroha Col­lege and Manukura. They then beat Nga¯ Ta­iatea Wharekura (Hamil­ton) in their semi-fi­nal to set up a re­match with Te Aroha in the fi­nal. The boys played a great game in front of fam­i­lies and friends who sup­ported the team and beat Te Aroha 97-75 to de­fend their Na­tional Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Willem Ratu, Cameron Trethewey and Mor­gan Trott who all made the boys tour­na­ment team, with Mor­gan Trott named Most Valu­able Player for the tour­na­ment. Fletcher Jen­nings also had a great tour­na­ment and was un­lucky not to be named in this se­lec­tion. Con­grat­u­la­tions also to Rhi­an­non Ut­ton and Holly Ratu, a tal­ented year 10 stu­dent, who were named in the girls’ tour­na­ment team.

These achieve­ments are a cul­mi­na­tion of a lot of hard work and com­mit­ment by our stu­dents over their years at Strat­ford High School. While the school loses a num­ber of year 13 stu­dents, coach Wil­lie Banks is very en­thu­si­as­tic about de­vel­op­ing more stu­dents to join those who re­main. The school is also work­ing with Wil­lie and Sam Mako on a plan to link in with feeder pri­mary schools to de­velop up and com­ing bas­ket­ballers.

Thanks to Wil­lie, and his wife Lee, for the time they have ded­i­cated to the boys, along with Shay Haira and Trent Adam who this year com­bined to coach the girls A team. With­out their pas­sion and com­mit­ment to the game, and our stu­dents, the school could not achieve such re­sults

The boys have been nom­i­nated in the up­com­ing Daily News Sports Awards Ju­nior Sports Team of the Year cat­e­gory, with Wil­lie Banks also nom­i­nated in the Coach of the Year cat­e­gory.

Ev­ery­one in­volved with bas­ket­ball thank the 13 stu­dents and ac­knowl­edge their tal­ent and achieve­ments. They have pro­vided great en­ter­tain­ment over the past five years and we wish them well for the fu­ture. The school also looks for­ward to de­vel­op­ing and con­tin­u­ing the de­vel­op­ment of bas­ket­ball.

Go­ing for a goal.

The Strat­ford High School Team

Team work.

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