Defence key in senior boys’ win

Ashburton College senior boys’ basketball team dealt Cathedral College a reality check in the secondary school Thompson Trophy on Tuesday, beating them 78-56.

Coach Brian Kerr had a full quota with Quinn Ritchie and Fotu Hala returning from injury and the pair showed they were ready, leading the point scoring with 14 and 18 respectively.

The game started frenetically with Cathedral employing both man to man presses and zone presses. College countered with pressure on the ball as both teams tried to establish ascendency.

College did struggle to get their offence going but a couple of three-pointers from Abel Wilson kept them handy.

The second quarter saw the College guards begin to up the defensive tempo and as has been in previous games Sam Pearce combined well with Ritchie and Marc Juntilla to pressure the Cathedral guards to create turnovers.

The return of  Hala gave an additional rebounding boost as he claimed numerous rebounds. The fast break game began to emerge as outlet passes began finding the speedy guards. This allowed College to take a seven-point lead at the break.

The third quarter was the telling quarter for Ashburton College as the intensity of their defence and the skill and speed of their fast break started to take the game away from Cathedral and they led by 18 points going into the final quarter. They consolidated to win by 22 points.

“The whole team was defensively strong and each player was instrumental in getting this win,” Kerr said.

He singled out Penuel Pantaleon for his energetic and aggressive defence, and Hala for his rebounding.

“The ability to transition quickly to the fast break and outlet to the guards on break was awesome. Some of the best passing I’ve seen.”

The senior girls lost to Kaiapoi High School 60-52. Coach Mark Douglas said finishing was a problem and the game had been winnable.