SHARE
Champions . . .(clockwise from top) The Otago secondary schools basketball competition-winning Waitaki Boys' High School basketball team was made up of (back, from left) manager Mel Lewis, Siua Fonua, Danyon Ashcroft, Toby Lewis, Traye McKenzie, Toby Johnson, (front, from left) Lukin Tayles, Jacob Bates, Joseph Riwhi, Sam Senior, Taz Selfe, Ben Tran, Floyd Tayles and coach Ian Cathcart. PHOTO: PAULA SYMES

Waitaki Boys’ High School’s top basketball team won when it counted most.

Facing Otago Boys’ High School in the final of the Otago secondary schools basketball competition last week – having lost the previous two encounters – the Oamaru school side put together a clinical performance to win 86-75.

With the game tied 41-all at halftime, Waitaki Boys’ held its nerve to pull away in the third and fourth quarters thanks to some gutsy defence, coach Ian Cathcart said.

“We played really well as a group defensively,” Cathcart said.

“You can win a game by playing good defence and not making your shots, but it’s pretty hard to win if you aren’t making your shots and are playing poor defence.

“We were in control for most of the game and had a nice little run with eight minutes to go that put us up 10 to 12 [points], and carried it on from there.”

Otago Boys’ has set the standard of the Otago secondary schools basketball competition for many years, winning the title 16 times in the previous 17 seasons.

Cathcart said it was a special win for all of the Waitaki Boys’ players, but especially for year 13 pupils Taz Selfe, Sam Senior, Lukin Tayles, Joseph Riwhi and Toby Johnson, who were in their final year at school and had been playing in the competition for the past five years.

“We are definitely going to miss those guys,” Cathcart said.

“They have been playing a lot of basketball together for years

“They were definitely doing a bit of singing on the way home [after the win], it was a pretty cool feeling.”

In the junior grade of the Otago secondary schools competition, Waitaki Boys’ and St Kevin’s College finished third and fourth respectively, after Waitaki Boys’ beat St Kevin’s in the playoff 41-36.