Tue, Nov 28, 2023 7:00 AM

Kaha basketballers make strong start


Peter Jones

Within a year, Kaha Basketball has become a significant force on the Marlborough sporting landscape.

A successful outing at the Mainland’s under-15 tournament 2022, followed by a trip to the USA in April 2023, signalled the arrival of the Kaha Basketball concept.

Those initial forays were followed by participation in two high profile Auckland-based tournaments, for under-16, and under-18 players.

Kaha Basketball is described as “a new basketball academy in the Wairau region focussing on rangatahi around the 12-18 age bracket”.

Organisers say, “the focus will be on holistic development of players, working on skill, alongside team values and culture (team before self, courage, resilience, respect).

“They aim to accomplish this by providing training, skill development, wananga and coaching and leadership opportunities and importantly, more access to tournaments nationally and internationally.”

Aki Collins had an outstanding tournament. 

Over Labour Weekend the Kaha Basketball under-18 team travelled to Auckland to compete in the inaugural SAS Australasian SLAM tournament.

Placed in a pool of five, the team went unbeaten through pool play. Their toughest battle came in the last pool game, their third of a gruelling day, but they showed character to pull through against a very skilled and fresher Hoops 33 combination. With participation in the finals now a real possibility, game times were adjusted to fit with flights and it was on to the semis.

There Kaha U18 met the South Auckland Basketball Panteras, who they had battled past 57-48 in pool play. This time the Marlborough lads knew what to expect, holding them to 30 points and scoring 60 of their own.

The final saw them matched against the winner of Pool B, the Hoop Clinic Huskies. The Kaha team matched them in all areas except three-point shooting, with several of their opponents shooting over 50 percent from three-point range. Although the Kaha team fought admirably, and closed to within six points in the third, they were eventually beaten 69-58.

They performed well above their expectations, with Aki Collins showing the way. He consistently led the team in scoring and was “an absolute nightmare” for other teams to stop. Mana Collins provided key leadership skills while centre Toby Baker was adept at setting screens for his teammates, rebounding, blocking shots and scoring inside.

The Kaha Basketball U18 team: Mana Collins (captain), Jake Gane (vice-captain), Aki Collins, Ollie Harris, Vitale Toia, Alex Boyce, Tyson Foote, Toby Baker, Aston Dollimore and Leon Wightwick. Dan Clarke and Ajay Gane were non-travelling reserves while Leo Wiapo and Tarin Mason were coaches, alongside manager Catherine Harris.

The Kaha under-16 team. 

The under-16 team also played in the Auckland event, taking time out on the journey north to play a Tokoroa High School team and stay on the school marae.

The SAS under-16 elite tournament was a big ask for the Marlborough crew but, after narrow losses on the first day, they began to find their feet against some highly-skilled rivals.

On day two they picked up their first win, followed by two more victories on day three.

Manager Sam Quinn said, “This is a new group of extreme talented and skilful players who have come together over five weeks prior to the tournament. They came sixth overall in the premier division, playing well as a team and under pressure.

“All players contributed to the team success and each game saw a player rise to the occasion. Our high scorers were Malachi Maui and Thomas Blackmore while Brodie Materoa produced all-round play on both defence and attack. Ryan Quinn and Enzo Silva were a strong presence on rebounding at both ends of the court.”

The Kaha Basketball under-16 team: Thomas Blackmore, Daniel du Plessis, Malachi Manu, Brodie Materoa, Malakai Riwaka-Clark, Enzo Silva, Tomasi Siovaeata, Ryan Quinn, Hunter Warmouth and Marcel Zolt Kavacs. Coach was Matt Manu and manager Sam Quinn.

Next year the Kaha crew intend to travel to Japan.

Marlborough App Logo
Marlborough App
Marlborough App is owned by Top South Media. a locally owned media company.