Jacob honoured to reach century

ON THE RUN: Trident High School basketballer Jacob Hillman dribbles his way down court during one of his many appearances for the school’s first V. Photo Steph Walker

Staff Reporter

A TRIDENT High School basketball player feels honoured to have joined some previous teammates in an illustrious club: year 12 student Jacob Hillman recently played his 100th match for the Trident High School first V basketball team, an impressive effort considering not many players reach the feat.

Jacob is honoured to stand alongside some players he first started playing with when he joined the team as a fresh year nine student.

There are about 10 more games for Jacob this year and then with next season, he’s hoping to become Trident High School’s most capped basketballer.

“It feels good because there are not many people who have reached this goal.

“The people who reached this I also looked up to them when I was younger, such as Hugh Oyanagi and Vadmi Moke-Kingi. Now that I have achieved this goal, I am very happy.”

His first foray into basketball came when he was younger.

“I first got into playing basketball because one of my closest friends told me to go to the trials for the Whakatāne Intermediate team and, ever since then, I have loved playing basketball.”

Although there have been plenty of awesome moments, on and off the court, reaching 100 games tops them all.

“This is the highlight of my playing career so far as not many players in Trident’s history have reached this mark.

“The other closest one is when I played for the 2021 Senior Boys A team in a bronze medal game and Matua Mike (Te Kurapa) and coach Zavia (Walker) put me on when we were 12 points down with three minutes to go and I sunk a three-pointer straight away and then helped set up five more points to put us in a better position to win.

“We drew at fulltime and then ran away in the end winning a bronze medal as a junior player in a senior team. That was awesome as well.”

He’s hoping to add a few more games in the next couple of months as he slowly reels in Oyangani’s 135 games, the most ever, but first wants to help the team improve.

“My goals are to win the local competition, try our best to improve in the Tauranga competition and make sure we are prepared for the zonal tournament in Rotorua in August.

“I am hoping for our team to get some good results there.”

Milestones are always nice to get and Jacob reaching the landmark did catch him by surprise.

“At first I was surprised and shocked because I had no clue that I was so close to getting that achievement but after being told, I was happy and thankful to everyone who has helped me through my journey.”

He is now a senior player in the Trident side and tries to lead by his actions.

“I was lucky enough to make the senior A team in 2021 alongside players like Sam Law, Hugh, Cy Coldiron, Vadim Moke-Kingi and many more.

“Matua Mike said this was one of the best teams that could have made it all the way to nationals but missed out due to Covid.”

Jacob admits being a leader can sometimes be difficult.

“It’s sometimes frustrating and stressful but it is good and enjoyable. I want my team to be able to look to me for guidance and advice and I want my junior team that I coach alongside my teammate Marni Ngaheu to be happy with my coaching skills and enjoy playing for me.”

The 16-year-old feels like his basketball has come a long way since he first started playing.

“I feel like it has improved a lot, especially because recently with the help of Marni (my teammate) and his parents I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the classic tournament that is run by hoop nation, which is a really big basketball tournament in New Zealand.

“It’s later on in the year but, yes, I believe Trident has helped me improve not only in my skills but also my overall knowledge of the game.”

The sharpshooter wants to thank everyone who has helped him on his journey so far.

“I want to thank my mum, dad and whānau for always supporting me. I want to say thank you to Ahu for coaching the senior team as well as all our supporters and ex-players.  

“I especially want to thank Matua Mike, Steph (Walker) and Zavia for helping me achieve this goal and always believing in me.”

All going well, this time next year, Jacob will be closing in on being Trident’s most capped player.

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