Above photo left to right: Kodee Sefo-Williams, Rebecca Moors and Lily Fotu.
Wondering if they could make it back-to-back titles, the Premier Basketball headed to Palmerston North to defend their national title with a pocket full of trophies after a successful season in Auckland, including the Auckland Secondary Schools Championship and the Northern Zone Premiership. Gliding effortlessly through the preliminary rounds, the team suffered a major loss when sensational point guard Amy Pateman collapsed with a knee injury. She was rendered out for the rest of the tournament. The Year 12 student also had to withdraw from the New Zealand Under-17 Basketball team, departing for the Oceania Cup in three days. Fortunately, Pateman secured knee surgery within two weeks, and a speedy recovery will have her back on the court as soon as possible.
The most challenging game for Westlake Girls came from Hamilton Girls in the semi-final. It was a rocky road, with the lead changing hands continuously and viewers on the edge of their seats up to the final minute. With nerves of steel, the coaches, Head Coach Bronwen Davidson and Assistant Coach Nela Fotu held firm while the players on the court dug deep to pull off a hair-raising three-point win, 69-66.
In a repeat of last year’s final, St Andrew’s College from Christchurch was quietly favoured to win the last game. However, Westlake’s tenacity and resilience shone through, and they surpassed all the opponents’ strategies. The defending champions claimed the title once again, 67-53. Superb leadership from captain Rebecca Moors resulted in her being named ‘most valuable player’ of the tournament. Fellow teammates Kodee Sefo-Williams and Zenthia Stowers were named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools tournament team along with Moors, who joined the New Zealand Under-17 team at the end of the tournament.
With consecutive national titles in the bag, the Westlake Girls Premier Basketball team has set its sights on competing at the 2024 World Secondary Schools Basketball Championship in Macau, China, from 23 June – 3 July.
Huge congratulations to Rebecca Moors, who has just accepted a scholarship to the University of Hawaii and is heading to Ohau next year!
– Ms April Ieremia, Director of Sport