Winner winner! Off to Nationals we go!

With smaller numbers attending the South Island ‘A’ Premierships our girls knew they had locked in a qualification spot regardless as top five teams attend and there was only four teams entered for the 2022 edition of this tournament. The question for our girls was, how bigger stamp did they want to put on the Dunedin tournament – and boy of boy did they do that!

Thursday 1st September – vs Roncalli College and Waimate HS

Game 1 – With playing teams you have not come across before you always need to start strongly and that is just what our team done with a very strong and experienced starting five of Ella Beirne, Caitlan Williams, Hannah Kelsall, Ella Mahuika and Kaede Cowan. The team where off to the races racking up an exceptional start to the tournament with a 23-2 lead over Roncalli College. With such a strong start this meant Coach Matiu could rotate the bench with ease giving all players plenty of court time in the opening game of the tournament. A wee injury to Pyper Mahuika early in the second quarter, changed up the rotations slightly as they rested her after her huge Junior Tournament she had just attended. 

First 23-2; Second 37-6; Third 52-18; Final Score 68-23.

Game 2 – After such a dominate first game the team needed to ensure they kept the foot on the pedal against Waimate HS. The same strong starting five from the previous game again set the tone for how the girls are going to attack the game with a 22-8 first quarter. This encounter was a more physical game than the one in the morning, however the girls took it in their stride – they all play in the local Women’s A Grade so have had experience against more physical sides. All ten players had some great court time, including Pyper who picked up the niggle in the first game. It was a really great defensive game, which the team built on throughout and added excellent ball movement throughout the game to make it easy to score in close.

First 22-8; Second 41-20; Third 60-27; Final Score 75-35

Friday 2nd September – vs Kavanagh College and Roncalli College

Game 3 – Kavanagh has traditionally been a strong basketball school so the team knew they may have a tougher game on their hands. Jennae Topliss moved into the starting five accompanied by the regulars of Ella Beirne, Caitlan Williams, Ella Mahuika and Kaede Cowan. Things were a wee bit slower for our team with shots just not dropping like they were previously, including spinning around the hop then popping out! The first quarter was closer for comfort than what has been happening previous with only a four point gap. However, the second quarter the team opened up the scoring and didn’t look back stretching the lead with every quarter. Some smaller injury niggles and sore bodies were starting to creep in during Game 3, however the team is full of talented young women and they do not loose anything when rotations are needed.

First 11-7; Second 29-15; Third 45-18; Final Score 69-23

Game 4 – Semifinals time against Roncalli College who we played first at the tournament and girls were looking for another strong win continuing their dominance at the Premierships. Starting five of Ella Beirne, Ella Mahuika, Caitlan Williams, Jennae Topliss, Kaede Cowan started strong with a man to man defense to put more pressure on the opposition and stretched out to a strong lead. Second quarter saw the team switch to a zone and throughout the game Coach Matiu had the luxury to give all players good minutes and also trying out several set plays in preparation for the final the next day.

First 20-10; Second 38-10; Third 53-25; Final Score 76-35

Saturday 3rd September – vs Waimate High School GRAND FINAL

Game 5 – Going into the game the team vibe was very positive from all players wanting to finish off the tournament with a clean sheet. This team has really gelled over the season and they are producing some of their best basketball at this tournament with the four convincing previous wins. The starting five of Ella Beirne, Ella Mahuika, Caitlan Williams, Jennae Topliss, Kaede Cowan started the game very strong, setting up the team for another strong game. Beautiful set plays started to come into the game as the girls gained confidence and the team found many gaps opening up under the basket to convert easy points.

First 20-8; Second 43-17; Third 69-30; Final Score 87-38

Image by: Sport Dept.

Thank you to Coach Matiu Wikaira for his excellent guidance and work throughout the season to bring the team together so well and produce outstanding results. Also a big thank you to Manager Kiri Russell for attending this tournament with the girls and being such a great camp mum to everyone.

We would also like to recognise our sponsors of Isaac’s Construction and Whāia Legal for their support of getting the girls to this tournament, without their generous help attending tournaments like this are difficult for our young talented athletes.