Basketball 2016 Secondary Schools 3×3 National Slam
Westlake Boys Basketball sent a senior team to the 2016 Secondary Schools 3 x 3 National Slam played at Trust Stadium from 7-9 April. Over three days the boys played 11 pool games, needing to make the top two teams in their pool to make it to the semi-finals. On the first day Westlake played five games winning all comfortably by at least 5 points against Wanganui (17-8), Rosmini College C (18-13), Rosehill College 3 (21-6), Rosehill College 1 (19-4) and Papakura High School (21-10).
On the second day the Westlake team were set the task to remain undefeated in their four pool games playing the top team in day one’s other pools. Even with some tough games the boys were able to keep their perfect record at 9-0, beating Hobsonville Point (21-14), One Tree Hill College (21-12), St Peter’s College, Auckland Grammar School (15-7) and Ashburton College (15-6).
On the final day our last two pool matches were against two of the Rangitoto College teams. Westlake aimed for a strong pool round finish to be top seed going into the semi-finals later that afternoon. The boys managed to stay focused to get the final two pool round wins over Rangitoto White (21-8) and Rangitoto Red (13-9). Throughout the pool stages all five players had performed very well. Captain Isaac Letoa led from the front scoring points, playing a hard defence and creating offence. Thabo Manyere and James Moors had been dominant inside, swatting away shots, throwing down big dunks and grabbing rebounds. Marc Malingin and Aldrein Sepnio provided awesome energy and change of pace off the bench, slashing to the hoop and finishing extremely well in traffic. Westlake came away with a perfect record of 11-0 to top the pool, resulting in a semi-final crossover with North Shore boys school rivals Rosmini A.
The boys were ready to go from the checked ball in their semi-final game. Isaac Letoa led the way with a monster of a game, shooting lights out, driving inside, finishing in traffic and drawing fouls against Rosmini’s big guys. Thabo and James did a great job of cleaning up the boards, creating space and defending a big and tough Rosmini Team. Westlake Boys came away with a big 21-14 win setting up a repeat of last year’s Senior Boys 3×3 final, against Rangitoto College Blue (who had comfortably beaten Wanganui in their semi-final.)
From the start of the game, Rangitoto Blue had the upper hand getting the first few baskets of the game and drawing some early fouls that would become critical down the stretch of the game. After a slow start where Westlake could not buy a bucket, a great defensive effort from Thabo, James and Isaac managed to get the team back in the game. Along with the increased defensive pressure, Isaac hit some key outside shots creating some good and much needed points in the paint to crawl back to a 1 point deficit.
Unfortunately this would be as close to the lead as the boys were able to get after the spirited comeback. Rangitoto kept taking the ball inside and managed to draw some more key fouls. These fouls sent them to the line, where they shot very well and managed to close out the game taking the win at 21-13. After a great tournament Westlake Boys can be very proud of their tremendous achievement of coming runners-up in New Zealand at the 3×3 National Secondary School Championships. Congratulations to all involved.
Western Heights Basketball Tournament
Westlake Boys Basketball teams competed at the Western Heights Basketball Tournament recently. The seniors started off their tournament strongly winning the first match but lost their captain Josh Hidalgo to injury in the process. Playing against other schools premier sides without our top players who were either involved with the 3 x 3 tournament or the Volleyball nationals, was always going to be a tough ask but the team managed to win one out of their next three matches.
For coaches the tournament proved to be very beneficial. It showed them which players managed to step up in situations where they were required to perform beyond their usual team roles. Particularly impressive was Darren Wellacott, who gave his all every time he was on the court; his energy inspiring other players to strive to better themselves throughout the matches. The team finished a credible 6th out of 24 teams in the competition