Kobe Mansell, take a bow.
Channelling his NBA namesake’s 81-point game against Toronto back in 2006, the young guard dropped a whopping 73 points on Bathurst High in Friday morning’s Astley Cup basketball fixture, leading the Hornets to a crucial 87-60 victory.
Simply, the Bathurst Goldminers and NSW Country playmaker was unstoppable, completely controlling the clash from go to woah and making it rain from all over the court.
At one stage in the third quarter, he even produced a monster jam over one of his Bathurst counterparts to rub salt into an already gaping wound.
The performance was so incredible even Lynne Middleton, Orange High’s former tournament coordinator and the go-to on all things Astley Cup, said she can’t remember a more dominant individual effort, not since she arrived at the school in 1988 anyway.
“It would be difficult for me to say across all the sports in the Astley Cup because there’s been a lot of great performances, but in terms of basketball itself I can’t remember anyone doing anything like that,” Middleton said.
FT | Take a bow Kobe Mansell, the kid's dropped 73 of Orange High's 87 points. Yes, 73! Unbelievable.— Matt Findlay (@MRFindlay24) June 29, 2018
Orange High 87 defeats Bathurst High 60, a big win the Hornets needed.#AstleyCup18#WhiteChocolate#OldSchool#MakingItRain#GetBuckets#Fundamentalspic.twitter.com/EQiPYNVY7d
“Danny Williams, who finished school in 1990, was always quite dominant and he was an amazing basketballer, incredibly tall unlike Kobe, but I’m not sure even he did anything like that.
“Kobe ran yesterday in the athletics and did high jump too, so he was coming into basketball after that. He’s incredible, isn’t he?”
And Mansell’s thoughts on his stunning effort?
“It was pretty good,” he smiled, understated as ever, also admitting he was stoked with that dunk.
“I do remember that (dunk), it really fired the crowd up, they gave us a real lift there too.”
Orange High’s barmy army was in full swing the entire clash – so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think – and despite being double-teamed for virtually all four quarters, Mansell still made mince meat of the Bathurst defence.
But he heaped credit on his teammates too, and rightly so, without them crashing the boards at both ends and defending superbly, he wouldn’t have been able to produce such a huge game.
“It was a huge team effort, especially on D. We really crowded them, I couldn’t be prouder of all the boys,” Mansell said.
In terms of the overall cup tie, the result was a crucial one.
It equated to a 59-41 split in Orange High’s favour, which slashed Bathurst’ overnight lead to 88 going into the netball fixture, which the Hornets won 45-14.
That cut the gap even further, with Bathurst leading by just 52 going into the rugby league, with only hockey to play after that.