Aquinas College boys' team took out the North Island Junior Secondary Schools Championships for the first time ever with an 11-9 victory over Westlake Boys' High School on Sunday.
This is the first time a team from Tauranga has won the boys' division in the tournament's 28-year history, after Mount Maunganui College won the girls' division in 2014.
Kiahi Horan was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament after scoring an influential three goals in the final.
Loui Schuler and Noah van Oudenaaren also scored three goals in the final with the others going to Marshall Barker and Noah Orchard.
Aquinas were finals ready and had the mental edge after an earlier win over Westlake in pool play. The Tauranga side went up 4-0 after the first quarter to create a huge wall for Westlake to climb if they wanted a shot at a comeback.
An even second quarter saw the scores at 5-1, but the third blew the gap out to six with goals from Noah, Marshall and Loui.
Kiahi Horan made the gap seven with just 3:39 left to play in the final, but then Westlake threatened a last minute comeback. Westlake pieced together five goals in one minute and thirty-eight seconds, but it was too late.
Aquinas had done the damage and deservedly claimed the North Island Junior Secondary Schools Championships for the first time ever.
Team members Kiahi, Loui, Noah, Marshall and Connor Farrell were part of the Tauranga team that won the club's first under-14 national championship title last December.
The team was coached by Brendan Horan, Kiahi's dad and former New Zealand representative.
There were other fine performances from Western Bay schools.
Aquinas College girls' took out the division two title. Tauranga Boys' College placed a commendable 12th place in division one after some unfortunate results, including a draw against 7th placed St. Kentigern and a two-goal loss to Auckland Grammar School to just miss the quarter-finals.
Mount Maunganui College boys' placed an unlucky fourth in division two, after just losing their semifinal with a buzzer-beater shot against eventual winners Sacred Heart B. The Mount Maunganui College girls' placed 7th equal with St. Mary's.
Details: Click HERE