Ashburton 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