Carmel College saw off the challenge of Epsom Girls Grammar to secure its berth in the 2019 Auckland Secondary School Premier competition on Monday night. After some even early exchanges Carmel pulled away to win convincingly 95-57 in front of a good crowd on its home court.
Carmel were paced by 36 points from Tayla Dalton who was ably supported by Emily Broomfield (11pts), Estelle Davidson (10pts), Izzy Cattermole and Qaizden Stephano. Aria Todd-Pemerika and Sarah-Joy Aruwa led the way for Epsom with 14 points apiece and Florence Dallow was also in double figures with a dozen points.
From the outset Epsom coach Keith Langley employed a rarely seen triangle and two defensive strategy with a pair of guards detailed to play full court defence on Dalton whether she was in possession or not. The ploy worked initially as Dallow and Aruwa gave Epsom an early lead.
It was rather bizarre observing a passive Dalton allowing her teammates to play a 4 on 3 game. However Carmel made its numerical supremacy in the half court count as Cattermole, Broomfield and Stephano picked holes in the Epsom defence to give the hosts a 21-11 quarter time lead.
Todd-Pemerika made the first two baskets of the second period before a corner three from Mackenzie Makereth initiated another scoring surge from the hosts. Dalton countered the double teaming by regularly picking up possession deep in her own half and using her superior foot speed to outstrip the Epsom defence. The Junior Tall Fern reeled off ten points at the back end of the quarter to give her team a comfortable 42-21 half-time advantage.
The third quarter was a free scoring affair – Aruwa provided some joy for the Epsom followers with ten points and Alice Roy and Todd-Pemerika also made multiple scores.
Carmel shaded the stanza by a point (23-22) thanks to a balanced offensive effort.
Scores early in the fourth from Georgia Green, Davidson and Dalton, plus a deep three from Broomfield, ensured there would be no late charge from Epsom Girls who will now look to win the 2019 Senior A competition to secure automatic Premier status the next year.
For Carmel, developing nicely under coach Gareth Teahan, a spot in the Premier Grade top four looks a realistic goal ahead of the 2019 season.