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Lachlann Clement got the glory but his entire Tauranga Intermediate basketball got the title in a thrilling basketball finale in the NZCT AIMS Games today.
Tauranga pipped Rosmini 55-51, needing extra time before claiming their first-ever basketball crown.
With the scores locked up at 49-all at the end of regular time, then at 51-51 with a minute to play, up stepped Clement with a clutch three-pointer.
“I was scared that I was going to miss, because I didn’t make one earlier in the game,” a jubilant Clement explained. “Then I made it and I was just amazed!”
So were his teammates, who mobbed him afterwards. Three of them – Callum Jefferies, Pirioi Tapsell and Braydon Luli – made the tournament team, with Jefferies named tournament MVP.
Rosmini stars Pita Maxwell-Topia and Keano Kini, who were also named in the tournament team, led their side to a solid halftime lead but Tauranga came storming back.
“We were taking it too much on ourselves in the first half, but then in the second half we just pulled together and played as a team. It’s pretty cool – the best we’ve ever done is third.”
Meanwhile, Koromatua School from Hamilton took a firm hold on the girls’ final early on and never relinquished it, holding off Takapuna Normal Intermediate 45-36.
Third last year, Koromatua stepped up in style, led by tournament MVP Aria Cowley, with Golden Josephs and Soleil Bennion also making the tournament team.