Two wins during yesterday's fourth and final day saw Hawke's Bay finish ninth at the national under-17 netball tournament in Palmerston North.
The Lee-Anne Taylor-coached Bay side beat North Otago 35-27 in their first outing yesterday. As the score suggests it was a tight and physical affair with all of the Bay players needing to dig deep.
Janayah Lewis and Imke Kitchin shot well and assisting their teammates on defence which allowed midcourters Jaimee Tapine and Asher Grapes to take some clear intercepts. Hawke's Bay were ahead 8-5 after the first quarter.
North Otago continued to work hard on defence and forced Hawke's Bay into errors. Versatile Liana Mikaele-Tu'u provided some strong drives on attack but Hawke's Bay found it hard to deliver the ball to their shooting end. They were ahead 16-15 at halftime.
It continued this way through the third quarter and Hawke's Bay had a 24-22 lead at the start of the fourth. Some tenacious defence from Tapine and Valentine Kahukura along with midcourter Ashleigh Poi and Grapes saw Kitchin and Mikaele-Tuu dominate the shooting statistics in the final quarter.
In their second game Hawke's Bay beat Hamilton City A 35-29 to gain revenge for a 32-22 loss on Monday. Hawke's Bay shot out to an early lead and Maddison Kaye and Mikaele-Tu'u interchanging well off the centre pass and found goal shoot Kitchin with ease.
Defenders Kahukura and Kiah McCorkindale were in sync confusing the Hamilton shooting circle players and creating turnovers for Kaye and Parris Petera to deliver the ball to the inform shooters. At the end of the first quarter Hawke's Bay were ahead 16-8.
Hamilton City applied the pressure in the second quarter and disrupted Hawke's Bay on attack. Some stellar defence from the whole team but particularly Kahukura who combined later in the quarter with Tapine had the Bay ahead at halftime. The third quarter was tight and while Hawke's Bay took some strong intercepts they couldn't find Kitchin as easily.
Centre Asher Grapes provided some direction through court and Hawke's Bay took a 24-22 lead into the fourth quarter. Lewis came on strong in the final quarter and provided control in the attacking end working well with Kitchin.
Taylor and her assistant Rebecca Martin had every right to heap kudos on their players.
"We are really proud of this group, they are outstanding young ladies and they give you 100 per cent every time on and off the court. There is a lot of potential in this group and it will be great to watch them go further in their netball careers," Taylor said.