Carmel retain Prems place while St Kentigern earn promotion

The Auckland Secondary Schools Girl’s Premier League play-off ties were decided on Friday night. In winner takes-all contests Carmel College retained their Premier status with a comfortable 63-44 win against One Tree Hill College while St Kentigern College won promotion from Senior A with a stirring 61-59 victory at Massey High School. 

At Carmel there was just a point between the two teams after ten minutes (12-11 in favour of Carmel) but the nerves of the home supporters were eased a little in the second period as Carmel moved out to a 33-20 advantage at the interval. 

Three-point plays from Zaraha Tibbotts and Leighton Esera opened up a double digit lead for Carmel while OTH had Angelica Vahai to thank for keeping them in the contest – the skipper had 10 points at the break.

Suriah Muipu scored the first two buckets of the second half but Carmel responded through Lily Farman and Jemma Cammell. Vahai followed an athletic block with a coast-to-coast basket before Cammell and Imogen O’Rourke stretched the Carmel advantage to twenty points (52-32) at the three-quarter mark.

Talei Bogidua was a powerful presence under the boards and her battling effort typified the OTH spirit but it was Carmel that prevailed – a coveted spot in the Premier League retained. 

Carmel 63 – Jemma Cammell 18, Imogen O’Rourke 10, Lily Farman 9, Zaraha Tibbotts 8

One Tree Hill 44 – Angelica Vahai 17, Talei Bogidua 10, Syriah Muipu 9

Out west, fans from both sides treated to a thriller as St Kentigern prevailed by a single point. The game couldn’t have been any tighter – Massey led by a point at quarter time, it was all square after the second and third periods before St Kent’s edged the final stanza by a single score.

Sharmaine Tapling for St Kent’s and Tahlya Waikiki for Massey shared the honours in the opening half as both posted 12 points for their respective teams with the score tied at 31 apiece.

It was nip and tuck again in the third. Kortni Waikiki had half a dozen points in the period for the hosts, Ashleigh Tuumaialu the same number for the Saints. 

Allyah Leusogi-Ape, named earlier in the week, to the New Zealand U18 Selection Camp had the final say of the period – 48 all with ten minutes to play.

A three from Zhoey Tilby-Woods helped the Massey cause as did a couple of scores from Tahlya Waikiki.  Inside the last two minutes, with Massey ahead 59-57, Sophie Jones scored a go-ahead three for the Saints.

Manania Rogers then made an important free-throw as St Kent’s managed the clock through the closing seconds to claim the win and promotion. 

“It was a tough game but it was defence that won it. Holding Allyah (Leusogi-Ape) was critical,” said St Kent’s coach Darci Finnigan.

Massey 59 – Kortni Waikiki 15, Tahlya Waikiki 15, Cynthia Schuster 11, Allyah Leusogi-Ape 11

St Kentigern 61 – Sharmaine Tapling 16, Ashleigh Tuumaialu 10, Nerisa Vavau 9, Sophie Jones 8, Manania Rogers 6, Maia Mealamu 6

2022 Regular season begins May 6th.

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