2016 Westlake Boys Premier Basketball National Tournament
During the first week of the school holidays Westlake Boys Premier Basketball Team took part in the Secondary Schools National Tournaments. After our Zone 1 Qualification Tournament we had been placed in Pool A, along with our local rival Rangitoto. The other four teams in Pool A were Otago Boys and Cashmere from Zone 4 and Melville and Hillcrest from Zone 2. Being placed in a strong pool we knew games were going to be tough from day 1.
Monday Pool Game 1: v Cashmere (Christchurch), 87-72
We had a good first win to start the Tournament. All 12 boys managed to get some good court time in the win. Captain Isaac Letoa played very well top scoring with 24 points and Luke Day shoot extremely well, he hit 4 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
Monday Pool Game 2: v Otago Boys (Dunedin), 80-61
In our second game against teams from the South Island, we had another solid win against Otago Boys. We had our noses in front for all the whole game, but it was tight until we pulled away in the 4th quarter. The scoring and minutes were well shared around again in this win. Reuben Fitzgerald top scored with 15 points and Marc Malingin had great game hitting all 5 of his shots for 12 points.
Tuesday Pool Game 3: v Hillcrest (Hamilton), 99-83
After coming away with two wins the day before, we were looking to make it three from three in our game against Hillcrest. In a high scoring game we got ahead early and kept up our good offensive production throughout the game. All boys played well and the scoring was shared around in the win. Vice-Captain Greg Vukets top scored in this game with 16 points and Scott Telfer had a great game on both ends pouring in 12 points to go along with 9 rebounds.
Tuesday Pool Game 4: v Melville (Hamilton), 79-68
We knew Melville would be tough pool game and they shot extremely well from everywhere on the floor. After a tight start to the game, we started to wear Melville down. Westlake Boys put extremely efficient defensive pressure on Melville and did not let them settle into their offensive game. Other great win, four from four in two days. This win also meant that we were through to the quarterfinals, as one of the top two teams in Pool A. Isaac Letoa stepped up and lead from the front in this game, having a great all-round game, 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Big man James Moors added a superb double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Wednesday Pool Game 5: v Rangitoto (Auckland), 77-98
In our final pool game we had the top seed for the Tournament and the team who beat us in the final to be 2015 National Champions and local rival, Rangitoto College. Both teams had already qualified for the Quarterfinals as the two top teams in the Pool, so it was a game to see who would go through top. Rangitoto started out very strong and where hitting every shot they took, gaining an early lead at the end of the first quarter. Our boys fought well but the initial lead was too much to overcome and we had our first loss of the Tournament. All 12 players managed to get on the scoreboard, with Isaac Letoa and James Moors leading the wat with 18 and 11 points repectively.
Thursday Quarterfinal Game: v Palmerston North Boys, 94-97
This was a huge game for both teams, as the winner would go through to the semis and the other would only be able to playoff for 5th-8th. Westlake had another slow start which put us behind from the get go. It was not until the 4th quarter when we had a great run that we got back into the game. After being down 15 points going into the final quarter, Westlake flicked a switch and hit here straps offensively. Isaac Letoa took over the game, hitting shots and driving hard at the hoop. After cutting the lead, both James Moors and Luke Day made huge 3-pointers to give us a chance to win it. After closing the gap to 2 points with under 20 seconds to go. Captain Letoa drove hard to the hoop and put up a tough layup that rolled over Palmerston North Boys 7 foot Centre that unfortunately rolled around the hoop and out. After staging a huge comeback in the 4th quarter it was a tough way for the boys to go out, but they had played until the final minute and given themselves every chance to try and win it. Isaac Letoa was very impressive in the lost getting 32 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. James Moors had another key double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Thabo Manyere had an awesome game keeping Palmerston North Boys big Centre in check on the defensive end, whilst pulling in 15 huge rebounds and adding 9 points.
Friday 5-8 Game: v Kelston (Auckland), 102-51
After dropping our quarterfinal game the previous day we really wanted to strike back against familiar foe Kelston Boys and strike back we did. The boys bounced back extremely well, especially on the offensive end scoring 33 points in the 1st quarter. Kelston were never really in the game after this and all the boys got a solid run and were able to contribute to the big score. Greg Vukets once again top scored with 27 points. Marc Malingin, Reuben Fitzgerald and James Moors all also scored in double figures for the game.
Saturday 5-6 Placing Game: v Rosmini (Auckland), 79-88
In a very familiar finals match up of the Tournament it saw the two teams from the Shore take on each other once again, for 5th and 6th placing. Westlake and Rosmini had met four time previously, with Rosmini having had the wood on us all year. Unfortunately this did not change in this game, we started slow once again and then could never quite win back the lead. Our boys played well but it was not to be and we finished up a very respectable 6th in the Nation, in a very tough Secondary School National Tournament. Isaac Letoa lead the boys extremely well in his last game as Captain, scoring a huge 30 points and being an unstoppable force on the offensive end.
All the boys had a great tournament and contributed well. The five 7th form boys, Isaac Letoa, Greg Vukets, Thabo Manyere, Scott Telfer and Luke Day, had an awesome final tournament in the Westlake Green, Red and White and showed great leadership. The younger boys, James Moors, Josh Hidalgo, Marc Malingin, Reuben Fitzgerald, Ethan Martin, Lucas Mennenga and Alex Freeman will all be hungry to come back and try and improve in 2017!
Isaac Letoa had an exceptional tournament on both ends of the floor and was named in the Tournament Team, and showing why he is one of the best high school players in the country. He has been a great player for Westlake Basketball over the past three years, always extremely hardworking, committed. He will be missed, along with all our 7th form leavers.