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Stratford High School boys win 'A' Basketball Championship

Stratford High School boys win 'A' Basketball Championship

Schick Championships – STRATFORD HIGH SCHOOL WIN ‘A’ BOYS’ GRAND FINAL

The Boys’ Grand Final was a north versus south match up as Canterbury representatives Hillmorton High School took on Taranaki’s Stratford High School.

A fast paced opening period was won 24-19 by Stratford with double digit contributions from Willem Ratu and Cameron Trethewey.

Trethewey was proving a handful on the boards, his put back stretching the Stratford lead to 31-21. Fletcher Jennings stretched the lead further before Ihaia Kendrew and Aleni Paulo converted after some Stratford ill-discipline.

A Morgan Trott tip-in was answered by a Joshua Nickel triple but Stratford was in control at the break with a 41-28 lead.

Trethewey led all scorers with 19 points ably assisted by Ratu’s 17 points. Kendrew kept the Stratford defence busy making a dozen points for Hillmorton.

Latrell Treka opened the second half scoring with a pair of triples and a break away lay up and although Kendrew and Mahonri Tauiliili-Pau punctured the Stratford defence the lead was still twenty points 53-33 in favour of Stratford.

Another three, this time from Ratu, prompted a timeout from Hillmorton coach Marques Whippy with the scoreline 63-43 in favour of Stratford.  Hillmorton scored the last six points of the quarter including a three from Aleni Paulo, but still trailed 63-45 with ten minutes to play.

Stratford was dealt a blow early in the fourth when Trethewey fouled out and to compound the problem Hillmorton scored the first eight points of the final quarter to close to 63-53.

Trott finally initiated the scoring for Stratford – they led 67-53 with 5:30 to play – coach Willie Banks deciding a timeout was prudent.

Sakaria Maoluma scored for Hillmorton off a neat inside pass and Tauiliili-Pau from a penetrative drive 68-59 with 3:30 to play.

Trott fouled out and Kendrew nailed a sideline three – 68-62 with 3:15 to play.

Both teams exchanged baskets before Kendrew nailed another three – 70-67 with two minutes to play.

Ratu eased the pressure with free throws (72-67) and a terrific left handed floater before Kendrew yet again landed from beyond the arc.

Whippy strategized in a timeout but his charges trailed 76-70 with 31 seconds to play – Brad Cross made the jump shot after the restart, but Ratu iced the game from the foul line to carry his team to a hard earned 77-72 victory.

Stratford coach Willie Banks paid credit to Hillmorton for the second half comeback they staged. 

“Even though we forged a twenty point lead at one stage, I knew they had the ability to make a run and we couldn’t rest on our laurels – we were holding on at the end.

“Willem Ratu was justifiably named MVP, and along with Morgan Trott and Cameron Trethewey were the backbone of our team. I’m blessed to have shared the journey to the championship title with them,” said Banks. 

Back to back Championships for Opunake High School

Back to back Championships for Opunake High School

Schick Championships – OPUNAKE HIGH SCHOOL WIN THE ‘A’ GIRLS’ GRAND FINAL 

The Schick ‘A’ Girls’ Grand Final featured local side Manukura and Opunake High, an absorbing contest eventually won by the defending champions 58-56.

Isabelle Cook opened the scoring and Iritana Hohaia landed a three as Opunake started confidently. Rochelle Fourie and Kiwi Hunter-Rogan responded with some strong inside moves for Manukura that trailed 21-17 at quarter time.

Six straight points off turnovers from Hohaia prompted a timeout from Manukura coach Joe Frost with his team trailing 29-21. Mia Waiariki reduced the arrears briefly but Cook responded with an And 1 play to take the Opunake lead into double figures – 36-25.

A 6-0 Manukura run brought them back into the contest before Hohaia garnered another steal and converted the layup. The livewire point guard led all scorers at the interval with 18 points almost matched by Cook with 15 points as the defending champions led 40-31. Fourie was the best for Manukura with 13 points at an efficient 5 from 7 shooting.

A disgruntled Opunake coach Angelo Hill called an early second half timeout after Carys Dellinger was granted an open lay-up. Jessica Roach got the scoreboard moving again for Opunake with back to back outside shots – 44-34 in their favour at the midpoint of the third. 

Forwards Cook and Fourie impressed for their team and it was Cook with steals on consecutive plays plus a basket in transition that kept Opunake ahead 46-37 with two minutes to play in the third.

Brody Manson scored a couple of baskets in the shadows of three-quarter time to cut the Opunake lead to three points (47-44) at the last break.

Harata Coleman trimmed the Opunake lead to a single point but soon after lost Fourie as she picked up her fifth foul.

Tenaeya Sutcliffe made a basket for Opunake but with both teams tiring scoring slowed significantly.

Cook scored inside with a neat left handed basket but a triple from Coleman plus a freebie after being fouled and then a lay up from the lively Manson tied the scores at 53 apiece with 3:30 to play.

Harata restored the Opunake lead – 56-53 - reduced by a Carys Dellinger free throw with 1:09 to play.

Dellinger tied the scores in the final 20 seconds much to the delight of the home support only for Tournament MVP Isabelle Cook to seal the game with 8 seconds to play. 
 
An emotional Opunake coach Angelo Hill was extremely happy after the game. 

“We have a family culture at the school and this team is an extension of my family,” he said.

“I’m demanding, I’m tough on them, but I love them like my own family – they busted their tails off for me.

“It was an intense final and I must commend Joe (Manukura coach Joe Frost) because his team has improved so much this year and they deserve great credit.

“Isabelle (Cook), Iritana (Hohaia) and Simone (Cooke) have been our rocks this season. Simone couldn’t get her shot off tonight, but her leadership and composure has been key’” Hill added.

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