Auckland Girls Grammar completed the double of Zone 1 Premierships and Auckland Secondary Schools Premier Grade titles after withstanding a spirited Westlake Girls High challenge to win 70-66 at NSEC on Saturday.
Grammar, benefitting from double figure contributions from Mele Latu and Elianna Tuaiti, appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory when they led 57-43 at the three-quarter mark.
However Westlake produced a string of baskets courtesy of Jess Moors and Emme Shearer to reel in the Grammar lead and when Shearer, who scored a game high 32 points, knocked down her fourth triple of the game the scores were tied at 59 points apiece with 4 minutes to play.
Rionne Papa restored the Grammar lead but a Moors And-1 play reversed the advantage with 2:05 to play.
The two teams exchanged free throws on the next couple of possessions before Papa scored again to open a three points margin (67-64) in favour of Grammar inside the final 60 seconds.
Jordyn Maddix, a key contributor for Lake, dragged the lead back to two but Grammar and Elianna Tuaiti in particular held their nerve.
There was plenty of support from south of the bridge and they were able to breathe a little easier and cheer a little louder as Tuaiti made crucial free throws to clinch a hard earned win.
Auckland Girls 70 – E Tuaiti 22, Latu 17, Papa 11, Skilton-Roberts 9, Hettig 9
Westlake 66 – Shearer 32, Moors 13, Maddix 12, Davidson 4
Mt Albert Grammar beat Massey High 97-61 to claim third spot and Rangitoto College claimed fifth place with a 67-51 win against St Kentigern College.
St Mary’s College Ponsonby clinched the seventh spot at Nationals after a convincing 90-60 win against Carmel College although there is some speculation that St Mary’s may opt out of the trip to Palmerston North next month. If that were the case Gareth Teahan’s charges may yet get an opportunity to perform on the national stage.