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NZ high school basketball players take on - and beat - American teams

A squad of high school basketball players from Auckland's North Harbour is enjoying a triumphant return home after taking on America’s best and winning.

The team didn’t just compete in tournaments in Phoenix and Dallas, they won in Texas where 175 teams took part.

Despite the athleticism being a step up, the Harbour team's ball movement and team work stood out for college coaches watching on, with scholarships now a step closer.

“I guess just the speed and athleticism over there was the biggest difference,” Taine Murray explained.

“Here it's more team orientated game play, and over there it’s just more individual stuff, trying to be the next big player,” player Kiani Stokes said.

“Until you have 20 coaches on the sideline evaluating you and thinking, 'This could be my moment I gain some attention, this could be a life changing game I'm about to play', that is really real,” Harbour coach Matt Lacey told 1 NEWS.

At the same time as his mates were impressing in Dallas last weekend, Westlake Boys student Sam Mennenga was shooting the lights out at a global NBA camp in Atlanta.

Mennega finished second highest scorer overall, top scoring and top rebounder in the final for the World Select team.

Basketball NZ's high performance manager Leonard King was predicting a number of scholarship offers for Mennega on the back of his showing.

“Look, a number of college coaches were there to watch Sam play in that game. I'm pretty sure he'll get a number of offers on his performance,” King told 1 NEWS.

The other victory on the US trip was finding shoes, particularly for Stokes with his size 15s.

The big Kiwi hooves and their owners now have American basketball sitting up and taking note.

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A squad of high school basketball players from the North Harbour is enjoying a triumphant return home after winning a 175-team tournament in Dallas. Source: 1 NEWS


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