Tue, Dec 19, 2023 4:00 PM

Bank Shot for Basketballers


William Woodworth

Marlborough Basketball stalwart Farishta Peterson originally thought the email from BNZ, saying she had won their Court of Dreams competition, was a scam.

The Marlborough Basketball life member and current Development Officer entered the competition on TV1’s Breakfast.

Now, 30 Marlburians – made up of players who have given back to the local basketball community through volunteering and coaching – are heading to Auckland for an all-expenses paid experience at the New Zealand Breakers vs South East Melbourne Phoenix match on January 20.

Marlborough’s representatives will play a 12-minute game on court as part of the pre-match entertainment, be a part of the Breakers’ entrance, and compete at the half time competitions.

“I thought it was a scam, then I realized how incredible the prize was, and then I cried”, said Farishta.

“It was honestly surreal, I just floated around disassociated for a full day unable to tell anyone sworn to secrecy while they organised transport for us from Blenheim.

“I was watching Breakfast and said to my whāngai daughter I should apply, so I’m so happy I took the time to write in to tell the story of these kids and especially our Under 13 Girls team this year, and how awesome they’ve been both on and off the court.”

The Marlborough Under 13 Girls, who finished 2ndat regionals in a heartbreaking buzzer-beater loss and 3rd at Mainland Regionals, have been making great strides in Marlborough basketball this year.

“The girls were so involved in helping out coaching and refereeing in the primary school competitions, sacrificing their time as a team to coach year 3 and 4 basketballers during school holidays this year, and being really motivated around their fundraising”, says Farishta.

“They bonded so well, responded to learning and so coachable. As soon they took to the court for the first time as a team, I thought this was something special.”

Farishta, who has been involved in basketball for 45 years, says winning this trip is one of her favourite moments.

“Back in the 80’s a friend won a trip to Wellington for the NBL finals, but I can’t imagine what this will be like in comparison nowadays”.

“It was so funny to tell them because I’m always full of surprises. I did the same thing when I found out and sat there a bit stunned.”

“The kids and parents attending showed the most participation, hard work and inclusivity throughout the grades not just on the court but to keep the sport growing here, and they all deserve this so much”.

“I think I need to start getting them to study the Breakers roster because they haven’t seen Marlborough support yet!”

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