Mount Albert Grammar inflicted on Auckland Girls Grammar just their second defeat in the past two Premier seasons to take out the Auckland Secondary Schools Championship winning 59-52 at North Shore Events Centre on Friday.
Opposing forwards Mele Latu and Rikki Fiatau were prominent early on as Mt Albert forged a 12-6 lead in a tight opening spell.
Laetitia Tuaiti knocked down a three for Auckland but Sharne Pupuke-Robati (a team high 21 points) replied in similar fashion for Mt Albert.
Latu had a spell on the bench after picking up three early fouls but on her return she reeled off ten points and although Fiatau scored eight points in the second quarter Auckland led 28-27 at half-time.
The outstanding Latu, who led all scorers with 26 points, continued with the hot hands in the third and aided by Elianna Tuaiti and Tyla Tuala the defending champions opened up a 38-33 advantage.
After a quick time out Mt Albert made their move – a third triple in the game from Pupuke-Robati was followed by baskets from Moanekah Va’ai and Fiatau, when Jada Manase peeled off a pair of threes Mt Albert had enjoyed a 15-2 run and led 48-40 at three-quarter time.
Pupuke-Robati stretched the lead to ten but an Elianna Tuaiti And-1 play trimmed the deficit.
It was cat and mouse in the middle stages of the final quarter with both sides searching for the ascendancy – Zhanay Hettig scored inside for Auckland but they still trailed by five (53-48) inside the final four minutes.
Latu scored her sixth triple of the game but a basket from Manase an a calmly made pair of free throws from Va’ai gave Mt Albert the victory – one that has eluded them against their arch rivals for the past couple of years.
MAGS 59 – S Pupuke-Robati 21, R Fiatau 15, J Manase 9, M Va’ai 8
AGGS 52 – M Latu 26, E Tuaiti 9, T Tuala 7