They slugged it out toe-to-toe but the Hawke's Bay Black netball team edged out Hutt Valley Gold to play for 9th-12th place at the under-17 nationals in Auckland this morning.
The Annemarie Kupa-mentored Bay Blacks are now guaranteed a top-10 finish at the Netball New Zealand Championship at Waitakere when they face North Harbour 1 later today.
The Bay schoolgirls' side are hoping to emulate the feat of last year when they finished ninth.
The teams could not be separated in the first two quarters this morning — 9-9 and 15-15 — but Hutt Valley threw down the gauntlet in the first half of the third spell in clinching a five-point lead at the three-quarter mark.
However the Bay didn't panic, gnawing away at the deficit to level terms, 30-30, again into extra time where they prevailed 36-33.
In their second match yesterday, the Bay Blacks comfortably beat Eastern Southland 28-18.
A thunderstorm had dictated terms at the halfway mark but the Bay side had adapted better to the elements quicker and better in adopting a short game.
Goal shoot Caitlin Smith (Napier Girls' High School) was on target and found cohesiveness with her goal attack.