St Mary’s College and Westlake Girls booked their tickets for the Auckland Secondary Schools Girl’s Premier League Grand Final in contrasting styles at Eventfinda Stadium on Friday night.
St Mary’s comfortably beat Massey High 94-65 whilst Westlake Girls had to work hard to subdue the challenge of Rangitoto College.
For the second time in eight days Rangitoto pushed Westlake all the way before losing by nine points – an identical margin in both games – 90-81.
In a high scoring contest both teams enjoyed balanced scoring efforts but it was the last five points from Westlake guards Tabatha Leyson and Holly Williams that were the most telling.
An Ella Moore three with a couple of minutes to play followed by a Kellie Tawhiao free-throw had reduced the Westlake lead to just four points (85-80) and, as they had all game, Rangitoto threatened an upset. However Leyson made a critical triple from in front of her own bench and when Williams scored soon after the Westlake followers could breathe a little easier.
Earlier a high scoring opening quarter was shaded 27-25 by Westlake who took charge in the second spell to lead 52-40 at half-time, three triples from Moneesha Barrett not doing Rangi’s cause any harm as Williams, Jordyn Maddix and Izzy Pugh led the Westlake effort.
Westlake were well in control at the three-quarter mark leading 76-64 and when Rosie Dil and Izzy Pugh stretched the advantage by a further four points the Rangitoto resistance appeared to be broken.
It was still fourteen points in favour of Westlake when Leyson knocked down the first of her two threes. However Josh Davis rallied his troops and they peeled off a 9-0 run as Moore, Wentworth and Aroha Rogers all made scores.
Another Rangi score at that stage and who knows what may have transpired. As it was Leyson and Williams steadied the ship to guide Westlake into the final.
Westlake 90– I Pugh 16, H Williams 12, J Maddix 12, T Leyson 10, R Dil 10, E Pugh 8
Rangitoto 81– H Wentworth 22, M Barrett 14, E Moore 13, A Rogers 12, W Rogers 12
Regular season champions St Mary’s College stamped their authority on the semi-final tie against Massey High by breaking out to a 27-6 first quarter lead with Zaaliyah Kailahi-Fulu claiming 13 points on her way to a game high 29 points.
Ramona Fuaivaa and Shazaleah Henry led a Massey revival in the second frame but with the impressive Safena Te Nana-Williams knocking down three of her five triples in the quarter, and Taumaia Malolo and Tyla Tevaga also landing from beyond the arc, St Mary’s were 50-23 ahead at half-time.
Kat Leslie and Kailahi-Fulu helped widen the margin even further in the third despite Allyah Leusogi-Ape’s six points in the frame.
Fuaivaa knocked down three triples in the final quarter to take her tally into the twenties but it did little to hinder St Mary’s advance to a thirteenth straight win and a place in the grand-final.
St Mary’s 94– Z Kailahi-Fulu 29, S Te Nana-Williams 25, K leslie 14, T Tevaga 9
Massey 65– R Fuaivaa 24, A Leusogi-Ape 13, S Henry 10, Y Tevao 8
Both the Final and the 3rd/4thgame will be played at Eventfinda Stadium on Thursday August 22nd. Tip-off time for both games is 6.00pm.