Tautoko Wynyard is living proof height isn’t everything in basketball – but it certainly doesn’t hurt either.
The 1.95m Murrays Bay Intermediate student – son of champion axeman Jason and brother of Tall Blacks basketballer Tai – helped his team to a resounding 49-30 win over Tokoroa Intermediate in the Anchor AIMS Games boys’ basketball final today, helping celebrate his recent 13th birthday.
Between Wynyard’s height and the dazzling skills of some of his teammates, Murrays Bay left the previously unbeaten Tokoroa team in their wake, racing out to 10-0, 21-2 and 37-10 leads at various points in the final.
Three players were back from the Murrays Bay team that lost in the semifinals last year; Wynyard – who has grown nearly 13cm in the last 12 months – Rocco Chang and team captain Dante Russo-Nance, who was delighted with the team’s performance.
“We were determined to come out strong, not be intimidated by the other team and play how we usually play,” Russo-Nance said. “We haven’t lost the whole season and this win feels great – we’ve put in a lot of work at trainings and we didn’t back down all tournament.”
Meanwhile, Takapuna Normal Intermediate won the girls final, outlasting Northcross in a tight tussle, winning 29-28.
Captain Holly Williams said it was a sweet feeling beating their North Shore rivals, who have dominated them in match-ups before the tournament.
“We just had to keep composed and slow it down to keep us in the lead and we managed to shut down their key players and work really hard on our defence but it feels amazing to win,” Williams said.