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Eilish Pearce College Basketball webAshburton College’s Eilish Pierce takes the ball up the court against Rangiora High School this week. Photo Erin TaskerAshburton College’s senior boys’ basketball side have won their latest match in the Thompson Trophy basketball competition in dramatic fashion.

Overtime was required to determine who would come out on top when Ashburton College and Rangiora High School went head-to-head at Ashburton’s Oxford Street stadium on Tuesday night, and it was the home side that eventually came out on top, winning 87-78.

Rangiora had gone into the match as the more fancied side after an 80-point walloping of Hillmorton, while Ashburton had a wake-up call against Shirley in their first game, but the home side really took the challenge to the taller Rangiora side by matching up man-to-man early on.

The first quarter was a real arm wrestle, as each team tried to assert their authority and it ended tied at 17-all, and the second quarter continued in the same vein.

By half-time Rangiora held a narrow 37–35 lead, and although Ashburton ran into some third-quarter problems with Fotu Hala picking up his fourth foul, they did not relent and Rangiora landed a late basket to ensure they again held a slender lead at the next break, 52-51.

The fourth quarter had everything.

Rangiora got on a roll and got out to a five-point lead and after a time out was called, Ashburton got back into the game through the excellent shooting of Quinn Ritchie and Hala.

Then came the sensational finish.

Hala scored two crucial baskets to give his side a 74-71 lead with only seven seconds remaining, only for Rangiora to claim a last ditch three-pointer to tie the game up with two seconds to go.

A last second shot from Ritchie went close, but at full-time it was 74-all and extra time was required.

The action was manic, as the teams went helter-skelter at each other but it was the College boys that eventually showed better discipline, taking the lead and sticking to their offensive structures and defensively break down the Rangiora challenge.

They forced turnovers and claimed their defensive rebounds and Hala in particular drove strongly to the basket to claim a four-point lead.

Rangiora were forced to foul and put the Ashburton boys on the line in order to try and get the ball back, but they were up to the task converting five from six to take the win 87-78.

Ashburton College coach Brian Kerr said it was a real arm wrestle and at times his side got a bit loose, however they were able to regroup and run their patterns and score when it counted.

“To me there were so many wonderful moments from all the boys that took the court, whether it was hitting a crucial three, a big defensive rebound or just the tenacity of their defence,” Kerr said.

Ritchie was outstanding on defence, matching up against some pretty slick guards each time and he never stopped being a defensive threat to them, Kerr said.

He also scored 19 points, with 10 coming in the final quarter.

Hala also got better as the game went on.

He started the fourth quarter on four fouls and saw out the match, ending up with 36 points, including nine points in overtime.

After the final whistle sounded it was the turn of the girls, with the Ashburton College senior girls also taking on Rangiora High School in their second Whelan Trophy game of the season.

Rangiora proved to be too good in that game though, taking it out 79-46.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 17 May 2019

Netball Samantha Holden College webCollege A’s Samantha Holden takes an intercept during her side’s win over Hampstead A on Thursday night. Photos Erin TaskerCollege A have bounced back from a slow start to beat Hampstead A and keep their unbeaten start to the Mid Canterbury Netball premier one competition going.

The young College side had their work cut out for them to get to that 37-33 win at the EA Networks Centre on Thursday night, with Hampstead A coming out all guns blazing and restricting College to just five goals in the first quarter to lead 11-5.

College A made a couple of changes on attack at the first break though and they paid off quickly, with College soon clawing their way back within two and then drawing even just before half-time.

The two sides were all square at 18-all at half-time and neither was willing to give an inch in the third quarter, before a late turnover gave College a slender advantage which they took into the three-quarter break, 28-26.

Hampstead pounced on an early opportunity in the final quarter and drew even once again, but when it came to the crunch it was the College side which came up with the goods to win by four.

College A coach Kaye Kennedy said she was pleased with her side’s second quarter performance after the slow start.

She said once her side stopped throwing too many cross-court passes and looked after possession, they were able to get back in the game and find their rhythm.

Hampstead A coach Janene McDowell said she’d been expecting a tough battle, and after a strong performance was disappointed not to have come away with the win.

She said her side’s shooting was consistent, but their error rate through court was too high.

“We took our opportunities early, but we failed to absorb the pressure in the second half,” McDowell said.

On the next court, Methven A also found themselves having to absorb some pressure from a Celtic B side seeking their first win of the competition.

Celtic B put in one of their better performances of the season, but fell short against last year’s runners-up 23-19.

With bonus point territory being finishing within three, it meant both Celtic B and Hampstead A just missed out on taking what would’ve been the first bonus points of the competition.

Celtic B and Mt Somers are now the only winless teams after three games in round one, with Mt Somers going down to defending champions Celtic A 33-19 in Thursday night’s other premier one game.

Meanwhile, in premier two, Southern A and United A maintained their unbeaten streaks as they eye up a return to the top flight.

Southern A beat Celtic C 41-14 on Thursday night, while United A beat Methven B 48-23.

Ashburton College B beat Hampstead B 32-14 in the other game of the night.

Automatic promotion and relegation await the top team from premier two and the bottom team from premier one at the end of round one, and a big week ahead will determine which teams that wil involve.

A catch-up round was due to be played on Tuesday night, before the final games of round one took to the court on Thursday night.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 17 May 2019

Basketball web2 1A venture into new territory has proven to be a winning move for Ashburton College’s junior boys’ basketball side.

The team is this season travelling to Christchurch weekly to compete in the Canterbury under-17 boys’ competition, and after a tough introduction to the city competition they’ve found their stride.

They were well beaten by a slick Christ’s College in week one, but bounced back with wins against Cashmere and Burnside which meant they’d done enough to play their way into the top 16, of 32 teams.

They would now compete over the next eight weeks to try and make the top eight.

Coach Mark Douglas said with training twice a week, and a lot of extra effort being put in, the progress that was being made was encouraging.

“It’s like anything, you put in the hard work and you will get the results,” Douglas said.

With the help of pre-season yoga, kick-boxing and spin to keep everyone fresh, Douglas said they were trying to introduce as many ‘extras’ as they could to expand the boys’ knowledge.

The latest extra is a session with South Island Basketball’s newly appointed high performance manager Mel Downer, a former head coach at the Australian Institute of Sport, on Monday.

Douglas said the session – at the Ashburton College gym from 4pm until 6pm – would be a fantastic learning opportunity, not just for the athletes, but for coaches, too.

“If any coaches wished to sit in on Mel’s training session with the boys they are more than welcome.”

© The Ashburton Guardian - 17 May 2019