Aiming for the US of A

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Rising Oamaru basketball star Matt Brien knows exactly where he wants the sport to take him.
America, baby.
Brien (17) is cock-a-hoop after making the tournament team alongside Otago team-mate Josh Aitcheson at the New Zealand under-19 championships in Nelson last week.
The scale of that achievement is best indicated by the fact every other player in the team is a member of the Junior Tall Blacks.
“It was a bit of a surprise. I was stoked,” Brien said.
“I think I stepped up at times, and just tried to do my part.”
The year 13 pupil at St Kevin’s College made an incredible start to the tournament when he sank a game-winning three-pointer on the buzzer against Taranaki.
Otago performed above expectations to finish fourth, pipped for third by Waikato in an overtime thriller.
“We were expecting top eight but weren’t sure we’d make it into top four, so we were pretty happy with that.
“We played really well as a team. There were some big teams there – guys who were seven foot [2.13m], which is really tough.”
Brien, a small forward, had St Kevin’s schoolmate Alex Gonzales and Waitaki Boys’ High School player Harry Thorp for company in Nelson.
Now, he hopes to use hoops to go even further afield.
“I’d like to go to college in America.
“It’s just about finding the right way to get there, and getting people to help me out.”
St Kevin’s will try to win a third straight South Island A title next month, and will then aim for the national title.
Brien also plays halfback for the St Kevin’s First XV rugby team _ and yes, people ask him why he isn’t at lock _ but may look at focusing on basketball in the future, as that could be his ticket to the world.
North Otago performed with credit at the New Zealand under-15 boys tournament in Wellington in the second week of the school holidays.
Making a rare appearance at the top level, North Otago finished 18th after winning two of its final three games.
Heavy losses to powerhouses Harbour and Canterbury in pool play were followed by competitive defeats against Hutt Valley and Taranaki.
North Otago then had back-to-back wins, against Kapiti (82-63) and Gisborne (90-54), before finishing with a 57-52 loss to Taranaki.