St Peter’s crowned national champs

St Peter’s Premier Girls’ basketball team has won the National Secondary School Basketball Champs for the third time in four years.

St Peter’s School has won the ‘AA’ Schick National Secondary School Basketball Championships for the third time in four years.

The Premier Girls’ basketball team won the CA Clark Trophy, beating Hutt Valley 92 – 51 in the final. They won all eight of their games in the tournament, winning by an average margin of 47 points.

Player Kirsten Rawson spoke highly of the team’s coach Leanne Walker on Māori Television.

“Our coach pushes us to our hardest every single training. We do lots and lots of shuttles, and I think that pushed us through, our fitness really backed us,” she said.

“That, and the love of the game.”

To qualify for the national tournament, the girls beat Hamilton Girls’ High School by 30 points in the regional finals.

Coach Leanne Walker said they stuck to their game plans and were disciplined.

“The team stuck religiously to their game plan. Their defense at nationals was solid and it’s what stood us apart,” she said.

Young Tall Fern Charlisse Leger-Walker scored 35 points, got 24 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. She was named Most Valuable Player for the 4th year in a row and made the tournament team. Waiata Jennings scored 19 points, Ella Bradley scored 21, and Jayze Waihi scored 11.

Ella Bradley and Alana Paewai were also named in the tournament team.

“Their tenacity, determination, and grit proved to be too good for any opposition teams. Offensively, our team was able to create many opportunities from turnovers, and when necessary showed poise to run through plays and make good decisions,” said Walker.

“It was a solid team effort and the best thing is, the majority of this team will be back for another tilt at the national title again in 2019.”

She said winning nationals was definitely the highlight of the season, but a close second was a trip to Gold Coast, Australia, where they were hosted by former professional NZ basketballer, Pero Cameron. The girls played a few games against the team Pero coaches, Hillcrest Christian College, and they attended skills sessions with the Gold Coast U16s and U18s.

Player Emma Baker said it was a fantastic way to prepare for the New Zealand tournaments.

“It was a good way to get to know everyone so much better and create a good, positive team atmosphere before going to regionals and nationals,” she said.

The team’s players were: Charlisse Leger-Walker, Ella Bradley, Waiata Jennings, Emma Baker, Kirsten Rawson, Jayze Waihi, Ahi Williams, Owahini Kingi, Megan Bradley, Grace McGirr, Toha Kemp and Alana Paewai.

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