NZ Māori basketball team played their first game against Australian Indigenous All Stars last night in Te Awamutu.
The game was a close one with the NZ Māori basketball team losing by one point. The final score was 82- 81.
Everard Bartlett, member of the NZ Māori team says, “It was a tough game. It was an exciting game, especially for the crowd, they enjoyed it. Not so much for us because we went down by one point.”
The team is in Tauranga training and preparing for game two.
Coach Jeff Green says, “Game two is really important now, especially from our point of view to try and win it and even the series up it's always tough.”
The series between NZ Māori and Australian Indigenous All Stars began five years ago.
“It's growing. It's getting bigger and hopefully it continues to grow and attracts a bit more attention” says Bartlett.
According to Jeff Green, NZ basketball is growing and pathways like this are helping Māori youth to grow with it.
“There are so many youngsters that play the game of basketball and it's really important to send them a good message that there is a pathway for them if you look at the current tall blacks team there are a lot of Māori men in that team as there is in the women's Tall Ferns team” says Green.
The NZ Māori basketball team take on the Australian Indigenous All Stars team again tonight in Tauranga.