The North Otago under-15 boys’ basketball team is on its way to the national tournament in July after winning a regional tournament at the weekend.
The North Otago side went through the tournament unbeaten, defeating Southland 60-46 in the final.
The team were part of a four-team tournament against Southland, Otago and Otago B, with the top two teams qualifying for the nationals.
Otago Country and Eastern Southland pulled out due to a lack of players.
North Otago coach Brian de Geest said he was thrilled with the side’s performance.
“They played really well. We are absolutely delighted to have won the tournament and can’t wait for the national tournament.”
The side played Southland first up and came away with the spoils 64-51 on the back of standout performances from Max de Geest (32 points), Liam Ayson (16) and Tom Crutchley (7 points and 19 rebounds).
Later in the day, the tackled Otago A and managed a 70-59 victory with de Geest again leading the scoring with 40, Ayson scoring 19 and Crutchley getting 14 rebounds.
Then on the Sunday in their final pool match, they faced Otago B and won convincingly 83-39 with de Geest scoring 23, Kalib Mullins 18 and Ayson 14.
Southland was their opponent in the final and the side continued their winning run with a 60-46 win, this time Ayson led the scoring with 19, de Geest contributed 15, while Crutchley won a staggering 20 rebounds.
De Geest paid credit to the side for their performance at the tournament.
“It was superb. I can’t remember the last time a North Otago side beat both Otago and Southland at a regional tournament. We usually beat one but not both, so to do that is awesome.
Assistant coach Ian Cathcart said while it is a team game and everyone did their job well in the final, he paid credit to three of the side’s players.
“Max de Geest, Liam Ayson and Tom Crutchley were the standout performers throughout the tournament but it took a total team effort in the final to secure the win,” Cathcart said.
The national tournament is in Wellington from July 16-19.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
JOB WELL DONE: The North Otago under 15 basketball team, back row, from left – assistant coach Ian Cathcart, Kalib Mullins, Max Gomez, Tom Crutchley, Liam Ayson, Esteban Erdody, coach Brian de Geest. Front row, from left – Max de Geest, Tyler Cunningham, Scott Kitto, Will de Geest.