Gisborne lose games but win respect

They knew they’d do it hard — but they returned with hard-won respect.

Dwayne Tamatea’s Gisborne Boys’ High School A team lost every game they played at the Super 8 tournament in Rotorua but their fighting spirit was unrivalled.

“Gisborne were competitive in every game they played and every game they played was close until the fourth quarter,” said Hastings Boys’ High School head coach Curtis Wooten, in his 19th year in charge of “Akina”. Wooten is a former first-division and New Zealand age-group coach who was, at 25, the youngest college head coach in the US when in charge of Sue Bennett Junior College of London, Kentucky.

“Gisborne had really athletic guards and ‘bigs’ (forwards) who, if they keep playing, could be good players, too. We took a 20 point-lead against them midway through the second half but we couldn’t blow them out.”

Gisborne Boys’ High coach Tamatea said the goal was to be competitive and gain experience at a higher level.

“We played well in patches and found the going tough at times but it did take these older, bigger teams three quarters to get the better of us,” he said.

“We played to the best of our ability and experience, and all of our boys improved individually and as a group during the trip. We talked about contributing to the team as an individual by making an individual sacrifice. Our team did that.”

Gisborne lost 72-60 in Game 1 against New Plymouth Boys’ High on the morning of Day 1 and never gave up against Tauranga Boys’ College (a 100-69 loss) that afternoon.

On Tuesday against Hastings, who have won six Super 8 titles under Wooten they lost 93-52.

In the crossover match with third-placed Pool A team Napier Boys’ High, Gisborne’s oldest interschool foe beat them 98-62.

On Wednesday morning, Gisborne lost the seventh/eighth playoff against Tauranga 92-58.

“Our young guards have to learn and understand basketball and the crucial role they play in it — the conductor, the communicator, the organiser,” Tamatea said.

“They have to know what plays we’re running, the trapping zones.

“Jorje Tofilau played 25 hard minutes in every game and Jake Noble played with the same sort of energy and enthusiasm — he hit some nice jump shots.

“Sam Veitch now has an idea of what he has to do: become stronger, be a little bit more selfish when he does get the ball inside, and develop his game further with back-to-the-basket moves.”

Rotorua Boys’ High old boy and former Tall Black Paora Winitana, as guest speaker at the Super 8 dinner on Day 2, sent a clear message to all players: “To achieve mental toughness, first acquire subject knowledge; make yourself a student of the game.”

Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown (14, 24, 10, 15, 16) averaged 16 points a game, Tawhiti Rehutai (18, 7, 18, 16, 15) averaged 15 and captain Veitch (8, 13, 13, 6, 11) was third on the Gisborne scoring list, averaging 10.

Tuwairua-Brown hit three three-point shots against Tauranga, and Tamatea is keen to see the 15-year-old develop his all-round game. As with every player — at all levels — defence is a work in progress.

This was the first Super 8 tournament to be staged at the three-court venue of Tui Ridge Park, just outside Rotorua.

Tournament director Mark Elers said the level of play in many of the games was outstanding.

“We had at least one top-four, two top-eight and two more top-12-to-14 teams here. The players amazed me with their skills. They’ve gone to another level at the top end of the Super 8. Palmerston North beat Hamilton 92-75 in the final; Palmerston are ranked the No.1 team in New Zealand.

“For those teams who had to work really hard, it was probably just stamina and depth that made it tough for the bottom three to stay consistent through four quarters. That said, of the teams I saw that had to fight, Gisborne certainly did.”

They knew they’d do it hard — but they returned with hard-won respect.

Dwayne Tamatea’s Gisborne Boys’ High School A team lost every game they played at the Super 8 tournament in Rotorua but their fighting spirit was unrivalled.

“Gisborne were competitive in every game they played and every game they played was close until the fourth quarter,” said Hastings Boys’ High School head coach Curtis Wooten, in his 19th year in charge of “Akina”. Wooten is a former first-division and New Zealand age-group coach who was, at 25, the youngest college head coach in the US when in charge of Sue Bennett Junior College of London, Kentucky.

“Gisborne had really athletic guards and ‘bigs’ (forwards) who, if they keep playing, could be good players, too. We took a 20 point-lead against them midway through the second half but we couldn’t blow them out.”

Gisborne Boys’ High coach Tamatea said the goal was to be competitive and gain experience at a higher level.

“We played well in patches and found the going tough at times but it did take these older, bigger teams three quarters to get the better of us,” he said.

“We played to the best of our ability and experience, and all of our boys improved individually and as a group during the trip. We talked about contributing to the team as an individual by making an individual sacrifice. Our team did that.”

Gisborne lost 72-60 in Game 1 against New Plymouth Boys’ High on the morning of Day 1 and never gave up against Tauranga Boys’ College (a 100-69 loss) that afternoon.

On Tuesday against Hastings, who have won six Super 8 titles under Wooten they lost 93-52.

In the crossover match with third-placed Pool A team Napier Boys’ High, Gisborne’s oldest interschool foe beat them 98-62.

On Wednesday morning, Gisborne lost the seventh/eighth playoff against Tauranga 92-58.

“Our young guards have to learn and understand basketball and the crucial role they play in it — the conductor, the communicator, the organiser,” Tamatea said.

“They have to know what plays we’re running, the trapping zones.

“Jorje Tofilau played 25 hard minutes in every game and Jake Noble played with the same sort of energy and enthusiasm — he hit some nice jump shots.

“Sam Veitch now has an idea of what he has to do: become stronger, be a little bit more selfish when he does get the ball inside, and develop his game further with back-to-the-basket moves.”

Rotorua Boys’ High old boy and former Tall Black Paora Winitana, as guest speaker at the Super 8 dinner on Day 2, sent a clear message to all players: “To achieve mental toughness, first acquire subject knowledge; make yourself a student of the game.”

Tyrese Tuwairua-Brown (14, 24, 10, 15, 16) averaged 16 points a game, Tawhiti Rehutai (18, 7, 18, 16, 15) averaged 15 and captain Veitch (8, 13, 13, 6, 11) was third on the Gisborne scoring list, averaging 10.

Tuwairua-Brown hit three three-point shots against Tauranga, and Tamatea is keen to see the 15-year-old develop his all-round game. As with every player — at all levels — defence is a work in progress.

This was the first Super 8 tournament to be staged at the three-court venue of Tui Ridge Park, just outside Rotorua.

Tournament director Mark Elers said the level of play in many of the games was outstanding.

“We had at least one top-four, two top-eight and two more top-12-to-14 teams here. The players amazed me with their skills. They’ve gone to another level at the top end of the Super 8. Palmerston North beat Hamilton 92-75 in the final; Palmerston are ranked the No.1 team in New Zealand.

“For those teams who had to work really hard, it was probably just stamina and depth that made it tough for the bottom three to stay consistent through four quarters. That said, of the teams I saw that had to fight, Gisborne certainly did.”

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