Posted on

QMC student makes history in NZ basketball

A QMC student is one of two New Zealanders to be named in the Jr NBA U14 Asia Pacific team for the first time.

A black and white photo of Lilly Taulelei in her NBA uniform holding a basketball.
Lilly Taulelei in her NBA uniform.

Lilly Taulelei in Year 10 found out she had made the international basketball earlier this month. The Jr NBA U14 Asia Pacific team is made up of 10 students from around Oceania and Asia. They will travel to Florida to take part in the Global Championships in August. Lilly and team mate Dontae Russo-Nance are the first New Zealanders in history to make the team.

“It felt amazing,” Lilly says.

“I felt happy, excited, confused and shocked at the same time. It was almost as if I didn’t believe that it actually happened. I was very happy that both New Zealand players made it and that we made history.”

To make the team, Lilly had to take part in a trial in Jakarta, Indonesia, playing on outdoor courts in 33 degree heat.

“We trained for four and a half hours in the mornings with few water breaks. We then had a lunch break and went straight back into it. Although the process was very hard, it was a great experience and was fun overall, “Lilly explains.

Lilly is no stranger to playing basketball internationally. At just 14 years old, she has already represented New Zealand in Australia twice, in the 2017 NZ U14 representative team and at the 2018 Hoop Nations Basketball tournament. She hopes to continue to represent New Zealand throughout the rest of her high school years and eventually make the Tall Ferns.

Lilly is inspired by her team mates in the QMC Senior A to be the best basketball player she can be.

“The seniors in my basketball team motivate me to improve and push myself harder than I am and have fun. I also love Candice Parker who plays for the L.A Sparks in the WNBA, she is the kind of player I aspire to be like.”

The Jr NBA World Championships will be played in Orlando, Florida from 6 – 11 August. Queen Margaret College wishes Lilly all the best in this event.