Hutt Valley High School King Of Queen’s
Hutt Valley High School (HVHS) have won the Sharp Cup for the first time since 2013 with a nail-biting 69-65 triumph over Queen Margaret College (QMC).
HVHS surged to a 32-17 lead midway through the second quarter, but a 15-2 QMC run leveled proceedings by halftime. HVHS led for most of the second-half, but with 1:59 remaining found themselves 61-60 down when Lilly Taulelei hit a jumper. Following a timeout, a three by Jordan Rangitawa propelled HVHS back into a lead they never lost – despite some anxious moments.
Another Rangitawa triple at 63-62 appeared to provide HVHS with some breathing space, only for a quick steal and lay up by Grace Hunter reduced the deficit back to 66-65. With 15 seconds left, HVHS led 67-65 when captain Leah Mafua missed a second free throw. Heroically Jasmine Troke sneered the rebound and with urgent support managed to waste seven seconds before Rangitawa was fouled. When Rangitawa connected with both shots, QMC’s brave title challenge was extinguished.
HVHS built their initial lead on the back of solid shooting by Rangitawa (20 points) and Mafua. QMC was down 24-13 after the first quarter and took more than five minutes to make a single field goal in the second. A three by Rosie Campbell with 3:28 left in the first-half was the catalyst for their resurgence. Suddenly Paris Lokotui (20 points) caught fire and scored half of the next 14 points as the score was 34-34 at the main interval.
HVHS narrowly won the third quarter 19-17 with Mafua finding her range often – eventually finishing with a game high 24 points. Hunter (17 points) hit two improbable jumpers in the last quarter when doubled-teamed, but HVHS held their nerve with the late heroics of Rangitawa and Troke enough to earn a seventh Sharp Cup championship.