Third Quarter Scoring Spree Propels St Mary’s To Netball Title

A strong third quarter propelled St Mary’s College to their 31-24 Wellington Premier Regional final netball win over Hutt Valley rivals Sacred Heart College in Monday night’s final at the ASB centre.

With scores locked at 15-15 at halftime, St Mary’s went on a third quarter scoring spree, outscoring Sacred Heart 10-3 and opening up a decisive seven-goal lead heading into the final 10 minutes. NZSS goal attack Saviour Tui netted eight of these goals.  Sacred Heart had won two of their three previous meetings by a goal and the other was drawn, so weren’t about to lie down. They opened the fourth quarter with three consecutive goals, all scored by goalshoot Bridie Burns. Sacred Heart closed to 25-21 and their vocal supporters sensed a momentum shift.

But St Mary’s refocused and kept themselves ahead to the fulltime whistle, taking out a hard-fought final worthy of a season decider.  St Mary’s coach Tash Tawhara said her side held their composure well when it got tight in the middle stages.  “Attacking-wise, Sacred Heart are very strong to the ball, so a key message before the match for our defenders was that they stayed on their player and they hustled,” said Tash. “On attack to just stay calm and have confidence in their passing, and it worked for us.”

Sacred Heart managed to put pressure on the St Mary’s midcourt, with centre Jordan Vailini and NZSS player and starting wing defender Charity Polu both strong.  “We have had a few games against this side this year, they have got a very well-oiled team. There are a few representatives in both teams tonight so it was nice to see those match-ups as well,” added Tash.

St Mary’s next assignment is a match this coming Saturday against Victoria University 2, in a must-win fixture to retain their Premier 1 status in the club competition.  Both finalists now reset their school netball goals for the Lower North Island Secondary Schools (LNISS) tournament in Palmerston North next week. From there the top five teams qualify for the 16-team NZSS tournament in October.

In the playoff for third and fourth on the adjacent court to the final, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School skipped out to a healthy lead against St Oran’s College. St Oran’s pegged the deficit back to 13-17 and then 23-23 before Marsden pulled clear to win 30-27.

Wellington East Girls’ College made a thrilling comeback to beat Wellington Girls’ College in the playoff for fifth and sixth.  Wellington Girls’ College led 16-8 at quarter-time and then 23-10 at halftime. WEGC, with Pulse shooter Tiana Metarau entering the match, pegged it back to 24-19 by three-quarter time and then overtook them at the end of extra time to win 30-28.

Earlier, the Division 2 final between Hutt Valley High School and Paraparaumu also went into extra time, after HVHS had scored a late goal to force a 29-29 score at the end of regulation play. HVHS carried their momentum into extra time to take the win.

And in the Division 3 Final, Onslow College held off a late fourth quarter surge by St Catherine’s to win 36-32

The two teams that met in the Premier Final (starting lists) were:

St Mary’s College: Sacred Heart College:
GS Lucy Ross GS Bridie Burns
GA Saviour Tui GA Lana Hewson
WA Maya Stillwell WA Oakley Baldwin
C Maddie Feaunati C Jordan Vailini
WD Lynette Sosefo WD Charity Polu
GD Luisa Stillwell GD Eileen Polu
GK Tesana Faleafaga GK Brooklyn Siemonek
Sub Egypt Moeke Sub Nicola Donaldson
Sub Emma Ticklepenny Sub Tsai Stevens
Sub Tara Campbell Sub Lesina Porter-Samuels
Sub Waiwai Wilson Sub Tia MacDougall
Sub Clare Tutuila Sub Neve Te One