Marlborough’s representatives proved highly competitive during the under-15 basketball tournament staged at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 from Thursday to Saturday.
Teams from South Canterbury, West Coast, Nelson, Canterbury, North Canterbury and Buller joined with local sides to compete for Mainland titles.
Two boys teams from Marlborough took part, the A team finishing a very creditable fifth while a young Development side ended up 10th but learned plenty from their efforts at the higher level.
The Marlborough boys A team opened with a 75-42 win over North Canterbury White on Thursday evening, then played three times of Friday. They lost 80-68 to Canterbury Metro Red then went down 89-54 to a very slick South Canterbury combination before bouncing back to down West Coast 63-50.
In the ensuing play-off battle for fifth and six positions on Saturday they ran away from Nelson, prevailing 91-54. Top scorers in that game were Quin Morten-Sands with 22 points, Arama Hita (20), Jared Moli (14) and Massimo Romano (13).
The side was coached by Danielle Blackmore who said they had performed well, improving as the tournament went on.
“I’m happy with [where we ended up], it was a good result for us,” she said.
“The three games on Friday took its toll on us … by the end of that the boys were certainly feeling it.
“They came back strongly though on Saturday, fresher and back onto it, playing the way they usually played.”
Blackmore felt her charges had learned plenty from their season’s campaign, which included a previous win in a Westport tournament.
“Their game has evolved, working some different structures. In the first game we heavily relied on our post so it was good to see them work other areas of the court by the Nelson game, it was flowing really well by then and our defence was much improved.”
Blackmore singled out guard Quin Morten-Sands for his work throughout the weekend’s tournament. “He was very consistent and held us together … getting rebounds and shooting well.”
She also mentioned diminutive Mana Collins for his team ethic and ability to motivate his team-mates, noting that four or five members of the Marlborough team will be eligible to play in the same grade next season.
Blackmore also suggested the game was in good heart in Marlborough. “The results show that we are not far off the levels of the other provinces … it’s great to see all the numbers coming through.”
The Marlborough girls team edged out South Canterbury Development for seventh place, winning the play-off 68-67. The team fought hard after losing Pippa Witehira to an ankle injury in the previous game. They lost all their preliminary encounters, 74-49 to Buller, 71-35 to Nelson and 101-42 to South Canterbury A.
The team was coached by Susie Witehira who said that, “for a young side coming through they did really well”.
“They should be a force to reckon with at the same tournament next year.”
Both the girls’ and boys’ finals were fought out between South Canterbury and Canterbury Metro sides, with South Canterbury winning both, taking out the girls’ clash 100-51 and the boys’ decider 74-64.