After coming together for the first time only three days before tip-off, the Kāpiti Basketball Association U-17 Girls team made the final of the annual Hoop Club Tournament.
Held over Labour Weekend at the ASB Stadium in Wellington, the team lost in the final to the highly experienced New Zealand Basketball Academy.
Kāpiti coaches Hugh Lawrence and Brenda McKenzie were excited by the potential -shown by this group of talented players. “Our semi-final win against the Academy B-team was a well-controlled all-round performance” said McKenzie. “We were especially pleased with the leadership of New Zealand trialist Jacinta Beckley. Her penetration to the hoop and rebounding on the defensive end were a great example to this young team”.
Coach Lawrence was impressed with the team’s ability to stay with the game plan and take on the Academy teams. “The Academy draws on the best players across Wellington and they have been practicing together for quite some time” he said. “We had to keep the ball moving quickly up-court getting ahead of the defense. Our error rate let us down but that will be solved with practice.” McKenzie picked out the rising talent of Ōtaki’s Amiria Reweti. “Despite the team’s limited practice time, she took responsibility for controlling the half-court offense under pressure and kept the Kāpiti attack moving.”
“Other players showed they have some real talent like guard Amy Parker and forward Natalie Teono” she said. “The forward pack of Teono, Kendra McKenzie and Rachel Hiller had a tough time controlling the boards at both ends; but that will come with more games”. Rookie guards Emme Mackay and Kirsten Carver found a lot of space but couldn’t convert in the high tempo games.
Lawrence and McKenzie aim to build on this first run out with other players coming into the wider training squad, Kāpiti women’s basketball may be on the rise.
Team roster: Guards: Jacinta Beckley, Amiria Reweti, Dillan Howell, Amy Parker, Kirsten Carver, Lauren Disberry, Emme Mackay, and Forwards: Kendra McKenzie, Rachel Hiller, Natalie Teono and Laura Teono. (Emily Teono injured)no