Tue, Oct 5, 2021 6:25 AM
The victorious Waimea junior A team. Photo: Supplied.
The future of Waimea basketball appears bright after a team of junior players cleaned up their bigger city competition in Christchurch at the weekend.
The Waimea College junior A basketball team can now lay claim to the title of best in the South Island after winning the junior invitational tournament in convincing fashion.
After Covid led to the cancellation of nationals, the invitational was the brainchild of former Canterbury Rams player Dave Langrell who saw the need for something for junior players in the South Island
Hitting the court just one hour after arriving in Christchurch, head coach Tim O’Malley says Waimea made a slow start to its campaign.
However, after shaking off the cobwebs, the boys got into their work and went on to dominate the game and the rest of the tournament.
“From that point we hit our stride played some incredible basketball.”
Tim says the next five games saw Waimea barely drop a quarter on their way to the final against Shirley Boys.
“No team ended up getting an edge on us through to the finals.”
Waimea shot out to a 12-4 advantage in the final to rattle their much larger Christchurch opponents.
“They had a couple of big players,” Tim says. “We were outsized, but our side just showed incredible grit. They really put pressure on and tightened the screws.”
Shirley managed to weather the storm and went on a 10-2 run, but the result was never really in doubt, with Waimea blowing Shirley away in the third quarter.
“We just ran the life out of them and were up by 22 at the end of third so we coasted in.”
Tim cleared the bench to ensure the whole squad got to relish in the victory.
Among the stars of the young gun side were Hayden Jones, son of New Zealand basketball legend Phill.
“He’s got some great teammates too, Coen Williams was an absolute pest to opposing teams and Kaden Bracey is very explosive.”
The three standouts will also play in a senior invitational with Waimea’s top team.
“They are some talented young boys and will be key contributors.”
Tim says with most players in year 11, the core of players are set to make some serious waves in the coming years.
“As I reflect on this team, they are a really special group with huge potential and should be contending nationals in a few years’ time.”
Tim credits Phil Jones and Ed Book for the success of the side.
“They have developed and put grassroots movements in place and built the passion with these kids.”
Team: Coen Williams, Hayden Jones, Kaden Bracey, Jerome Sinclair, Jordy Moore, Jobe McAuley, Micaiah Sampson, Noah Rogers, Ryder Kolk, Thomson Wright, Cooper Adams.
Quarter Final 87 – 39 vs Nayland
Semi Final 62 – 53 vs St Thomas
Final 93 – 69 vs Shirley