Te Aroha College recorded an exciting 72-66 victory against Nga Taiatea Wharekura to claim the ‘A’ North Island Invitational boys’ title.
Nga Taiatea Wharekura (NTW) made a terrific start leading 22-13 at quarter time but an improved effort from Te Aroha College in the second frame meant they had closed to within three at half-time (36-33)
It was 40 points apiece before NTW went on a significant 10-0 run that included an athletic dunk from Te Tuhikiterangi Lewis.
Junior De Young landed from downtown and Harlan Roudon was all hustle on defence as Te Aroha again narrowed the deficit to four points. Maioro Greensill dropped a corner three to extend the NTW advantage to 56-49 with ten minutes to play.
Lewis and de Young exchanged threes to begin the last quarter and when Josh Conroy converted a free throw Te Aroha were only one down (58-59).
Te Aroha were enjoying a golden spell, an 11-2 run propelling them to a 66-61 lead – NTW coach Kevin Collins needed a timeout with four minutes remaining.
The timeout worked dividends as Arahi Marsh tied proceedings with three to play. Both sets of supporters were in full voice as the tension escalated but it was the Te Aroha fans that finished the happier as Young and Manaaki Kaumoana put the finishing touches to a hometown win.
A stirring haka from Nga Taiatea Wharekura was a fitting climax to three days of exciting basketball played in a spirit of friendship.
- Te Aroha 72 – J De Young 29, M Kaumoana 16, J Conroy 11, E Bunning 6, J Thornton 6
- Nga Taiatea Wharekura 66 – T Lewis 22, M Greensill 14, T Balzer-Horo 10, A Marsh 8, T Witehira
- Manukura 63 – J Blake-Kaiwai 20, X Murray 12, S Tairea 9, T Rolls-Paewai 9
- Waihi College 57 – R Green 16, T Atger 16, J Vautier 10, R Butler 6
- Opunake High School 84 – S Quinnell 26, C Quinnell 22, C Feek 9, J Henare 9
- Katikati College 62 – D Du Plessis 25, S Gonzales 15, T Kingi 7, S Tautuaa 6
Boys All-Star 5:
- Xavier Murray (Manukura)
- Te Ahuru Balzer-Horo (Nga Taiatea Wharekura)
- Te Tuhikiterangi Lewis (Nga Taiatea Wharekura)
- Junior De Young (Te Aroha College)
- Manaaki Kaumoana (Te Aroha College)
MVP Junior De Young (Te Aroha College)