Sacred Heart College student Anna Haronga (pictured), and Rikki Lee Te Kira have been selected to represent the region in Basketball. Photo/Supplied.

SHC students to represent region in Basketball

Published on Sunday, 10 May 2020, 5:48 p.m. Print Article

Being selected to represent Hawke’s Bay in Basketball in their age group for another season is the result of years of hard work and dedication by two Sacred Heart College students.

Rikki Lee Te Kira and Anna Haronga will play for the Hawke’s Bay under 15 and under 17 girls’ respectively.

For Rikki Lee, it is the first time she has been named as an official member of the team, having stepped in to boost numbers last year. While for Anna, it is her fifth consecutive year representing the region.

Fifteen-year-old Rikki Lee only started playing Basketball in year 8 after getting bored of sitting on the sidelines while watching her older brother play. Now in year 10, she has grown to love the sport and couldn’t think of doing anything else. 
 
Last year helped the shooting guard gain confidence in shooting and having control over the ball. Apart from being on the court, she enjoys the bond between the girls in the team.

“It’s good to connect with them especially when you just join the team as well.”

Now in year 12, Anna hopes to make the New Zealand team if she sticks at Basketball. 
 
In year 7 former Hawks captain Clifton Bush II came to her school for training programmes and took her under his wing. She was also mentored through the Paora Winitana and Paul Henare Academy. 
 
“I’ve always played netball so I thought I would try Basketball out and I kind of just followed him around and he took me to rep trials and introduced me to people and that’s how I got involved,” she said.

The forward likes the freedom of the game. “We’re not constricted like netball having to stay in certain areas of the court, you can kind of play everywhere if you have the skills.”

After stopping netball to focus on basketball, Anna started playing for the college team last year.  

Despite interruptions to the season due to Covid-19, they are still practising, albeit at home,  and have not lost hope on taking to the court this year.

The Easter tournament in Tauranga last month was cancelled and it is not known what will happen with the upcoming Nationals scheduled for July. 
 
Rikki Lee just hopes to be able to finish off the 2020 season and do better than the 10th placing they got at nationals last year.

Anna said they rushed before lockdown to organise their individual training schedules at home and have been staying in touch with each other.

“As soon as it is over we’ve got to get straight back into it and catch up on all the missed trainings we’ve had.” 

Sacred Heart College teacher Lynne Koenders coached the school’s only basketball team up until the end of last year. 

“They’ve done really well,” she says. She believes it is their attitude towards bettering themselves in the sport which has seen them go as far as they have already. “It is all about their attitude – they’ve got the attitude and drive to do it.” 

“They are both very passionate about their basketball and they’re willing to put the time into practising.”

Both came to SHC with a “high level of skill” and have developed it further. Their success and skill have been hugely beneficial for other aspiring basketballers at the school, Koenders said. 

It shows them the level of skill that they can develop if they practice and both of them have a very good attitude in practice to develop their skills and use their skills to be able to read the court so they demonstrate that and encourage others to develop those skills as well.”