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Likely lads . . . The St Kevin's College basketball team: back, from left, Paea Fifita, Mark Xie, Hamish McAtamney, Jack Souness, Jack Andrew; front, Chris Kauapa, Jacob Fowler, Duran Cooper, Traye McKenzie, Daryl Wong, Mitch McRae (coach). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

St Kevin’s College will chase a third national basketball title in the space of five years later this month.

The Oamaru school qualified for the New Zealand secondary schoolboys A tournament (for smaller schools) by finishing second at the South Island finals in Blenheim last week.

St Kevin’s rolled through pool play with a bunch of 30-point wins, beat Greymouth High School 74-51 in the quarterfinals, and beat Dunstan High School 98-62 in the semifinals.

Dreams of a South Island title were dashed by Hillmorton High School (Christchurch), which won the final 85-63.

Assistant coach and former star player Matt Brien said St Kevin’s started slowly and could not get back into the game.

Towering centre Jack Andrew was unstoppable, scoring 47 points in the semifinal and 26 in the final, while point guard Mark Xie stepped up on defence and led the team well on offence.

St Kevin’s will head to the New Zealand tournament in Palmerston North hoping to repeat its title-winning efforts in 2013 and 2016.

A young Waitaki Boys’ High School team finished 13th at the zone 4 AA tournament (bigger schools) in Invercargill.

Drawn in a tough pool, Waitaki missed out on the top eight section but finished with good wins over Marlborough Boys’ College (88-51) and Burnside High School (69-68).

“With a young side, we were pretty happy with our tournament and look forward to aiming to qualify next year,” Waitaki Boys’ coach Ian Cathcart said.

“I was especially impressed with how my three junior players played on the back of their junior tournament.

“Exciting times are to come with this group of boys with only two boys leaving and most of my squad in year 10 and 11.”

The major loss for Waitaki is star man Scott Kitto, who has made an immense contribution to Waitaki basketball, on and off the court.

Waitaki Boys’, which had a tour to Australia and travelled to Dunedin for weekly competition, played 40 games this year, finished with a record of 24-16.

Former Waitaki Boys’ High School basketballer Max de Geest is having a heck of a year.

De Geest, just weeks after being selected in the New Zealand Breakers development squad, helped the New Zealand under-18 3×3 team to victory at the Asia Cup in Malaysia last weekend.

The rising guard became an online hit with footage of some of his dazzling dunks.

De Geest, part of North Otago’s royal hoops family, was also a member of the Junior Tall Blacks squad that won silver at the Asian under-18 championships earlier this year.