On their game

16 Oct 2017

No doubt about it, College basketball has become a force to be reckoned with. The Senior A team came first at the South Island Secondary Schools championships, and then fourth at the 2017 Secondary Schools Nationals, held in Palmerston North from Monday 2–Saturday 7 October.

Year 13 student and team captain Will Harrison says there is no secret behind their success, but credits an inspirational coach and a squad of committed and passionate players willing to put in hours of training to achieve their goals. “We’re all good mates, we know each other very well as we’ve played together for several years now. Everyone’s willing to do the work because we can see the results.”

And work they did. With three early morning training sessions, two weights sessions, two games and one Sunday practise each week, plus a dedicated training camp in the week before the nationals, they were pumped and ready to play.

“Although we had a tough pool, we felt pretty good heading into the competition. We knew what to expect, so went in with far more confidence this year,” says Will.

Both Will and his teammate and fellow Year 13 student Max de Geest say the highlight of the competition was beating Auckland Grammar School in the quarter-final. “We went into that game as the underdogs as they were one of the tournament favourites. It was probably the biggest upset of the tournament when we won,” says Max.

They were gutted to lose the semi-final to Rosmini College, the eventual tournament winners, but philosophical about their loss to Mt Albert Grammar School in the play-off for 3rd and 4th. “We only had nine players in our squad and simply ran out of steam. We missed some good opportunities, had a bit of bad luck …” says Will. “In basketball, the game’s never over until the final whistle, you’ve always got to pay attention and keep your head in the game. It was close, we fought hard, but we just couldn’t pull it off.”

At the end of the championships, College players Max de Geest and Max Darling were named in the boys’ tournament team, an honour awarded to the most outstanding players across all teams in the competition.