Relentless defensive pressure propelled Napier Girls' High School to a sixth consecutive Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Super 12 netball title last night.
"Our whole team worked hard for this title but our defensive pressure forced Hastings to conceded turnovers which we capitalised on with fast counter attacks," delighted NGHS coach Annemarie Kupa said after her team's 43-29 win against Hastings Girls' High School in Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena.
Goal keep Valentine Kahukura and Year 10 goal defence Melika Samia were inspirational on defence for NGHS who became the first team to win the province's Super 8 club and Super 12 secondary schools titles in the same season. Their team led 11-5 after the first quarter, 24-11 at halftime and 31-22 after the third quarter.
"Our patience was good. We finished strong with our top seven players. I thought about putting some of our subs on but our top seven had done the hard yards and needed to finish off," Kupa said.
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Kupa is confident her side has the ammunition to record a top-five finish at next week's Lower North Island tournament in Palmerston North and qualify for the 12-team national tournament. However, with four of her side, Samia, Janaya Preece, Janayah Lewis and Ashley Poi also playing for the school basketball team at their regional tournament in Palmy at the same time it will be a challenge.
Goal shoot Liana Mikaele-Tu'u and goal attack Asher Grapes were outstanding for Hastings. Their team shot at 88 per cent while Napier shot at 80 per cent.
"We won the third quarter 11-7 to stay close. But we didn't treasure the ball during the final quarter and coughed the ball up at crucial times," HGHS coach Ina Jones said.
Jones believed her team was capable of a top-10 finish in Palmerston North. She was proud of the fact she managed to give three junior players, Year 10 wing defence Anahera Hide and the Year 9 pair of centre Monique Poa and wing defence Lua Semisi court time.
In the plate final Woodford House pipped Karamu High School 28-26. In the bowl final Sacred Heart College beat St Joseph's Maori Girls College 29-27.