Ellesmere Colleg basketballers nationals-bound

MOVING ON: The Ellesmere College senior girls basketball team have qualified for the national tournament for the fourth straight year. Photo: Dean Mower.

The Ellesmere College senior girls basketball team have qualified for the national secondary schools tournament for the fourth year in a row.

The team finished second at the South Island tournament at Westport and will head to the nationals at Palmerston North in three weeks.

The team had previously beaten defending South Island champions Buller 88-76 which gave them qualification for single A nationals.

Single A is based on the
size of the school, with smaller schools competing in the single A nationals while bigger schools compete in the AA tournament.

The team completed a successful campaign with an 82-70 win over Greymouth High School.

They were led by Paris Nurse who finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Megan Ellis top-scored with 28 points, while Sam Irvine had a strong all-round game with 17 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and five steals.

Year 11 student Georgia Humm managed 11 points and six rebounds.

Their only loss came in their opening game to eventual champions Kavanagh College from Dunedin.

Coach Josh Thompson
said the team was aiming to make the top-four in New
Zealand after retaining most of their squad for 2017 which finished 10th.

“Attack-wise, I know we have quite a few options and the girls trust each other but I think we’ll need to be tighter on defence,” he said.

“We gave up on average 60 points at South Island’s which is 10 more than I’d like.”

Thompson said the team tried to play a more up-tempo style of basketball in 2018 in an effort to reach their national goal.

“A lot of the good teams are from the North Island so if we can match it with them speed-wise then we definitely have the talent to make the last four.”