Basketball: North Otago Penguins back in the fray

Ian Cathcart
Ian Cathcart
The North Otago Penguins have an impressive record to maintain in the national conference basketball league finals in Wellington, which start tomorrow.

The Penguins have played in the conference league finals four times and have won it three times.

They won the competition in 1997, 1999 and 2000, and finished third in 1998.

The side has not appeared in the finals since 2000 but was reformed this year and has made an immediate impact.

Eight teams will contest the tournament, with the Penguins the only side from the South Island.

Penguins captain Ian Cathcart said the standard of the competition was likely to be high.

Players who played an average of less than 15 minutes a game in the National Basketball League were eligible to play in this competition.

Teams from the Wellington Saints and the Waikato Titans were expected to have strong line-ups, fielding bench players from the NBL.

Cathcart said the Penguins had been performing well in the Dunedin club competition, but the southern section of the conference league suffered from a lack of competition.

The side had a good mixture of youth and experience, and had some big men inside.

Tall Black Calum McLeod will line up for the Penguins, along with veterans Markham Brown and Andrew Parke.

Cathcart, who has played in every tournament for the Penguins, will team up in the back court with American import Dalun Smith with youngster Riki Buckrell adding plenty of spark.

The side plays Western Bay Suns tomorrow at 11am, and then Auckland at 8pm.

It plays Saints at noon on Friday, before semifinals are played on Friday night.

The final will be played on Saturday night.


Otago Penguins conference league team: Dalun Smith, Jordan Small, Riki Buckrell, Ian Cathcart, Matt Gillan, Ryan Mitchell, Calum McLeod, Markham Brown, Andrew Parke, Rewi Manahi, Dan Fawkes.


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