by Te Ahua Maitland
Wintec Journalism student
Papatoetoe’s Holycross School is the new NZCT AIMS Games netball champions.
In an exciting final, the girls from Auckland won in a one-goal thriller against Northcross Intermediate 23-22.
The game began goal for goal before Holycross pulled away and took a 12-9 lead at halftime.
The Holycross defensive pairing of Armacia Ngan and Franchesca Etei-Michael were picking up crucial rebounds and turnover ball for the shooters.
It added to Holycross goal shooter Katerina Vaoga, who was cool and calm under pressure, shooting long shots throughout the game with ease.
This allowed the team to keep their lead 19-15 into the final quarter.
Holycross defender and captain Armacia Ngan Woo was proud of her girls’ efforts.
“It feels so good. We’ve worked so hard all this season and we did it as a team,” she said.
Although they led at every quarter, Northcross never gave up and continued to put pressure over the ball.
They fought back, picking up loose ball and rebounds to claw back to within one goal in the fourth quarter.
“It was nerve-racking when it became close again, but all we had to do was stay in front and try get in their minds,” Ngan Woo said.
When the final whistle was blown, the team celebrated as mothers of the Holycross girls ran onto the court jumping for joy.
The teams have met various times in the Auckland netball championship rounds.
“We usually beat them, but they’ve improved a lot, so props to them for giving us a good run,” Ngan Woo said.
Overall, the girls have enjoyed their NZCT AIMS Games experience.
“I think just as a team we bonded more,” Ngan Woo said. “and our netball has improved during the week.”
The game was played to a packed crowd at the Harbourside Netball Centre in Mount Maunganui.
In other results, the B Grade final was won by St Cuthberts College edging out Somerville Intermediate 29-27, and in the C Grade final Whangarei Intermediate defeated Randwick Park School comfortably 33-24.
Anchor Netball A Grade Tournament Team: Katerina Vaoga / Top Shooter (Holy Cross School Papatoetoe), Myracle Monga / Top Midcourt (Tauranga Intermediate) / Franchesca Etei-Michael / Top Defender (Holy Cross School Papatoetoe) , Ellie Minton (Northcross Intermediate), Morialisa Aneru (St Kentigern College), Parris Petera (Hastings Intermediate), Renee Karaitiana (Hastings Intermediate), Juana Pahulu (Holy Cross Papatoetoe), Coralee Graham (Whakatane Intermediate), Tiana McCallum (Tauranga Intermediate) Lilli Pohe-Cartmell (Maidstone Intermediate), Baylee Earle (Rotorua Intermediate)