Holy Cross School are the Anchor AIMS Games netball champions for 2017.
The small South Auckland school claimed its second-ever AIMS netball gold after a fiercely-contested final against Glen Eden Intermediate.
Coach Sarah Hann said there was no point in her trying to yell instructions to her team as the crowd at the biggest annual netball tournament in New Zealand was deafening.
After the game, she pulled her players into a huddle and told them: “That’s what it’s all about it!”
Holy Cross co-captains Kyra Tusa and Rosa Patea said they’d been up since 5am – roused early by a mix of excitement and nerves. They found Glen Eden especially strong in defence but kept to their team strategy of remaining calm on court.
Tusa said: “I’m happy that we won this because we deserve it.”
Patea said: “We wanted to make our school proud.”
There are only 42 Year 8 girls at Holy Cross. Hann said the team had been tested throughout the tournament, scraping wins by slim margins. But their strong team bond had proved a formidable force.
Netball attracts the most competitors of any sport at the AIMS Games. Of the 10,100 athletes at the Games, 1800 competed in the 122-team netball competition.