Nayland College has established itself as one of New Zealand basketball’s heavyweights, securing a record equalling fourth place at the national secondary school AA championship in Nelson last week.
Nayland were knocked out of finals contention by defending champions Rosmini College, going down 87-76 at the Trafalgar Centre on Saturday night. Nayland then lost to another defeated semi-finalist Hutt Valley High School in the third/fourth playoff but had strong showings against Burnside High School in the quarter finals after topping pool three with only one loss to its name.
It is the second time in just three years the side has made it to the semi-finals and the second time its players have made the tournament’s selection squad.
Sharpshooter Locky Campion earned individual praise from Basketball New Zealand but he wasn’t alone in making strong performances throughout the tournament. Nayland College coach Chris Tupu relied heavily on a core of six players with young Nelson Giants big man Angus Riley completing a heavy work load while Scott Cameron and Nathan Dempster were also outstanding throughout the week.
The future looks even brighter with young guns Jonas Kale and Toma Noguchi making significant contributions in the playoffs while Angus and Locky will still remain as key figures for at least another two years.
The Nayland College noise crew gave the team a clear edge with dozens of maroon-clad fans chanting at each fixture.
The tournament was eventually won by Westlake Boys High School with its key player, Tall Black Tai Webster claiming the MVP award.
Nelson College, who were one game away from reaching the quarter finals before being beaten by Nayland College in the final pool three match, ended the tournament with a creditable 14th placing. Finn Delaney had a strong tournament for the only other home side at the tournament.