The outcome was resounding but Otane Thirsty Whale co-coach Jewels Falcon was left umming and aahing when asked if the game was elementary last night.
"The performance wasn't convincing, to be honest," said Falcon, who was at the helm of the powerhouse side who registered a 63-36 victory over Hastings Girls' High School Senior A while player/coach Tammy Kupa was in New Plymouth following her son's progress in rugby.
"Because we had some of our experienced players away, like Tammy and Alex [Balhorn] it was an opportunity for others," said the Westpac Bank manager in Hastings and the Waipukurau branch who has returned to the fray this winter after a five-year hiatus from coaching.
However, Falcon said players had a couple of injuries to come right in the two-week recess from the Hawke's Bay Netball premier club competition at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Taradale.
The opportunity arose for the likes of Hannah Winnie, who is off to the nationals, and Poppi Tucker-Low.
"When I say the performance wasn't great it's because we put a bit of a different combo out there tonight."
She saluted HGHS for helping create attractive game that made it enjoyable.
Falcon, who singled out Briar Chalmers for praise for providing a fulcrum to work from as a leader, said all the drills that they focused on in training were put through in a game situation last night.
She was helping coach Otane as Annemarie Kupa is coaching Napier Girls High School Senior A with daughter Parris Petera playing there.
"It's been a while but I'm really enjoying it coming into a team environment that's there and built into the club so it's really good.
"After having had a break I thought I'd like to give back to a sport I've got so much out of," she said, hoping to "upskill" this year."
Her mother, Eliza Falcon, often attended some of her games and still offered her tips.
NGHS caused the upset of the night, beating defending champions Outkast Optimise Physio by nine goals.
NGHS manager Rebecca Taylor said the schoolgirls' victory was so exciting that the coaching stable had forgotten to jot down the score in the excitement.
"It was a really good win at the end," said Taylor of their first win against Outkast. "They kept their composure this time and didn't let the pressure get to them."
The defence was solid, she said, and the ball moving from the circles through the courts was poetry in motion.
"That could have just made the difference."
Taylor felt the advent of the school holidays definitely provided a pressure-valve release from the academic pursuits as well as commitment to other codes although they rep duties.
She lauded goalkeep Valentine Kahukura and midcourter Petera as well as wing defence Ashleigh Poi.
All In Elusive thumped HHSOG Spicers Keas 63-36 but coach Charissa Barham said it was a slow start as they led 32-20 at halftime.
"It was a growth in some players, though," said Barham after bringing up second-team player Jemma Kendon, of Havelock North High, as a goal shoot/attack who was strong with the ball.
Her players found a modicum of cohesiveness and fed off turn-over ball which pleased her immensely.
"But, you know, you can never underestimate a team like Keas," she said, alluding to a sluggish 11-9 start in the first quarter.
The thrust of her brainstorming sessions this week during scrimmages centred around player responsibility.
"It was about coming with that performance focus and taking responsibility and understanding what their roles were on the court."
Barham said All In Elusive were receiving feedback weekly now and were beginning to take ownership more.
She also singled out goal defence Sonne-Lee Waerea and goal keep Deanna Muir for snaffling possession, averaging about eight turnovers a quarter.
"Angela Stubb's such a steady hit up at wing attack."
With the national secondary schoolgirls' tourney on the agenda, Barham opted to rest the legs of Kendon's school mate, Imke Kitchin.
HHSOG Proactive Huias beat Central Sports Vet Services HB 46-39 after a first-spell fright when they trailed 12-6.
"I thought we could beat them because we had a game plan to it so everyone did their job," said coach Rebecca Martin, naming shooter Judy Brown player of the day for occupying and using the circle at the rate of 94 per cent.
However, Martin said it was important to heap plaudits on the entire team for a concerted effort in putting up the shutters.
Like the schoolgirls, the schoolteacher was looking forward to the break from the classrooms.