The Central Invitational Tournament played at Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North featuring ten top North Island Girls Schools concluded on Saturday.
A stirring Grand Final featured St Peter’s School, Cambridge and Mount Maunganui College with the reigning Secondary Schools Champions St Peter’s winning 63-58.
It was a one-point game (44-43) in favour of Mount Maunganui with ten minutes to play but, with St Peter’s putting the defensive clamps on and Breeje Schuler scoring seven points on the bounce, the national champs were 51-46 ahead at the mid-point of the final period.
Payton Takimoana broke a five-minute Mt Maunganui scoring drought and when Rosalie Samia made a turn-around off balance three, the Mount were back in the hunt.
Hana Lacey-Rameka answered with a triple for St Peter’s as they maintained a five point lead with 2:20 to play.
A Tia Lassey bucket made it a two-point ball game before Taiana Day and Alana Paewai had the final say for St Peters.
Day scored a neat inside basket and Tournament MVP Paewai made a crucial play after Takimoana had once again made it a two-point game with 60 seconds to play.
Paewai came up with an important steal and followed it with a free-throw as St Peter’s closed out a narrow 62-58 win in a highly entertaining contest.
Earlier a couple of long threes from Hana Lacey-Rameka helped St Peter’s to a narrow 15-14 first quarter lead.
The tussle between forwards Vitolia Tuilave and Taiana Day was an intriguing affair and it was Day and St Peter’s ahead at half-time 28-25.
Back to back baskets from Micaela Fourie overturned a six point deficit, Mt Maunganui ahead 44-43 at the three-quarter mark before Schuler and Paewai made their telling contributions.
- St Peter’s 63 – B Schuler 19, A Paewai 15, T Day 13, H Lacey-Rameka 9, G McGirr 6
- Mt Maunganui 58 – V Tuilava 17, M Samia 14, T Lassey 10, P Takimoana 8
Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth 58 – R Sampson 21, T Omelvena-Ngatai 9, C O’Connell 8, L Syrus 7
Rotorua Girls High School 43 – T Tomoana 12, N Ferguson 9, C Ohia 9, A Webster 6
Napier Girls High School 42 – A Poi 19, A King 8, S Adams 5, M Cunningham 5
Wellington East Girls College 74 – P Patea 18, T Prescott 14, I Tait-Jones 14, A Ross-Simi 11, C Mercury 8
Queen Margaret College 58 – L Taulelei 18, S Jenkins 12, H Morgan 10, T Pavihi 9, M Mariner 7
Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt 72 – J Buot 18,T Remuera 17, P Apineru 17, D Tupuse 9, T Rahui-Laulau 6
Fielding High School 47 – P Taiaroa 21, S Langtry 8, M Pinder 6, B Smith 6
New Plymouth Girls High School 85 – L Smith 22, L Elliott 21, L Tewhata 20, E Williams 5
Tournament All-Star 5
- Caitlin O’Connell (Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth)
- Melika Samia (Mt Maunganui College)
- Breeje Schuler (St Peter’s School, Cambridge)
- Tia Lassey (Mt Maunganui College)
- Alana Paewai (St Peter’s School, Cambridge)
MVP Alana Paewai (St Peter’s School, Cambridge)