Netballers win 2nd title in three years
Holy Cross have won the AIMS Games netball title for the second time in three years.
The champion netballers, who twice turned the tables on Auckland schools that had beaten them earlier this season, weren’t the only Holy Cross team to return with heads held high. Their bowlers were crowned the best performed AIMS Games indoor bowls team giving the school double cause for celebration. The AIMS Games is an annual sports event in Tauranga for intermediate-age pupils which this year attracted around 10,000 competitors from more than 300 schools. Netball is probably the most competitive of the 20 sports contested, with 122 schools involved. Holy Cross won all seven group games against Baradene, Southern Cross, Ferguson Intermediate, Reremoana, Bethlehem College, Wellington’s Samuel Marsden Collegiate and Kaitaia Intermediate to qualify for A grade. The next stage of the tournament involved games against three other section winners and runners-up, with another three wins required.
‘‘Our first game was against Blockhouse Bay Intermediate, who had previously beaten us at the Auckland Champs,’’ Holy Cross coach Sarah Hann says. ‘‘It was a tough game and we were down at halftime but the girls pulled through and won 23-20.’’
Holy Cross then beat Carmel College and Auckland Diocesan to advance to the quarterfinals, where they saw off North Shore school Northcross Intermediate 32-17. That set up a semifinal with Hastings school Peterhead in what turned out to be the tightest game of their campaign.
‘‘We knew it would be tough because they’d knocked out St Kentigern in the quarters. We talked about how the game would be won by the team that was smartest and calmest. We were down by five at halftime but the girls found some extra energy, strength and teamwork to pull through and win 30-29 in the last 10 seconds.’’
Awaiting in the final was Glen Eden Intermediate, who had beaten Holy Cross twice this season.
‘‘We went goal for goal in the first half but in the third quarter, we converted some turnovers and were up by four. We played consistently in the final quarter and held our lead to win 20-16.’’
Hann praised the fitness and mental toughness of her team to win all 13 of their games over five days.