Thank you for the $200 which contributed towards the cost of the trip which cost $2,746. We travelled to Melbourne where we encountered not the hot weather they had experienced weeks before, but instead torrential rain, and a cold snap. Fortunately, Basketball never is affected by the weather.
Our team consisted of players under the age of 16, from years 9,10, and 11. Some new to the game and others seasoned players. Our Coach Sue Pene, is used to developing young players, and decided to place us in the Third Division given the newer players. We trained together at school a couple of times a week
The Australians seemed very excited to have us play in their competition and had promoted the fact in the Australian Basketball Website, as well as I believe on the news. We didn’t see ourselves on television, but the spectators told us we were famous for being on the news (I guess that’s what you call your 5 minutes of fame).
We did not realise that we would only get a participation medal (our coach knew but didn’t want this to change how we played), as only Australian Nationals get medals, so the team who came third got the silver. The Australian players displayed great sportsmanship by showing their disappointment for us in only being able to get a participation medal. We finished the finals with a wahine style haka, which was appreciated by the winning team, and spectators. Our competitors were very keen to have photos with us, and their friendliness and sportsmanship made the trip more special.
Given the success of this tour, the school has decided to send the Junior Basketball Academy to the competition again this year.
I thank you for all your support. I am proud of my Ngapuhi roots, and really appreciated the funds.
Hei Kona, Grace Terewini McCarthy-Sinclair
[Published in E Mara E Pānui 5 April 2018]
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