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Eleven Christchurch-based basketball teams off to nationals

Isaiah Smiler

The strength of Canterbury Basketball will be on display at the 2017 New Zealand Secondary Schools national championships.

Eleven Christchurch-based high school basketball teams will battle it out on the hardwood courts of Palmerston North for the national title. 

Teams competed in the South Island Premierships last week, with the top six teams qualifying for nationals to be held in just under three weeks.

The boys' side of the draw was a repeat of the Thompson Trophy final, where Christ's College came back with vengeance, taking out a close game 62-56 over Cashmere High.

Cashmere point guard Connor McLaughlin will be a key asset to the team at nationals this year. Cashmere Boys Basketball

Only Nelson's Waimea College could manage to qualify alongside the group of Christchurch teams, losing to Shirley Boys' High in the third and fourth playoff. 

The final two spots were taken out by Middleton Grange and Burnside High. 

On the girls' side of the draw Christchurch Girls' came runners-up to Otago based St Hilda's Collegiate. 

Following behind Christchurch Girls' High were fellow Christchurch teams Middleton Grange, Rangi Ruru and St Andrew's College. 

Cashmere High School boys coach Ben Sheat said it wasn't a surprise that so many Canterbury sides were going to nationals. 

"I really think that represents the strong local Thompson Trophy competition, which is making a lot more depth. "

Middleton Grange coach Tim Bennetts said: 

"Christchurch teams benefit from the regular quality competition they receive in the weekly Thompson Trophy games, something other South Island organisations don't have." 

Senior A Boys Basketball Team Photo
Middleton Grange qualified fifth, and will be one of the five teams representing Christchurch in the 'AA' Boys division at Nationals. Middleton Grange Basketball

Bennetts said all teams that qualified were strong contenders for the national title.

Of the teams that have qualified for the National Tournament in the 'AA' division, only three of the twelve teams will not be from Christchurch.

The only boys' side not from Christchurch is Waimea, and only two Dunedin based girls teams, St Hilda's Collegiate and Otago Girls' High.

New Zealand Basketball chief executive Iain Potter said basketball in Canterbury was ''going from strength to strength''. 

"Canterbury do an outstanding job of hosting events and providing opportunities to play.  That is naturally going to build basketball talent that flows into local school teams and representative teams."

The Secondary Schools National Championships begin on October 2.