Maheno celebrated its return to the premier club netball ranks with a stunning finish to clinch a 29-29 draw with Waitaki Girls’ High School Wildfire on Saturday.
The schoolgirls appeared to have the game in hand when they led 8-3 after the first quarter, 16-11 at halftime and 23-19 after three quarters.
Izzy Hurst provided strength and good leadership at the back for Wildfire, and year 9 goal shoot Losa Fifita made a promising debut.
But there are some wise heads in the Maheno team, and the country side scored five straight goals in the fourth quarter to take a one-goal lead.
The teams went goal for goal down the stretch, Maheno netting the last to clinch the draw.
Kathryn Kawau was dynamic in the midcourt for Maheno, Melissa Smith covered plenty of court, and Becky Taylor opened up the circle when she entered the game, playing as goal attack in the fourth quarter.
Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike also staged a powerful finish to pull away to a 39-29 win over Athletic after scores were tied 19-19 at halftime.
Versatile star Taneisha Fifita was a reliable presence for Lightning Strike, which trailed 11-7 after the first quarter, while Megan Green (WD) swooped on turnovers for Athletic and Ashleigh Keown (GS) was a strong presence in the circle.
Midcourter Whitney Cleveland played a starring role in St Kevin’s College A’s 34-23 win over Valley Silver.
Cleveland started at wing attack but switched to wing defence at halftime to create more turnover ball, and she and Sophie Brien grabbed plenty of turnover ball.
Seni Lafoou stood out for Valley Silver in the defensive circle, but St Kevin’s always looked in control after building a 19-12 lead at halftime.
In the other Valley-St Kevin’s game, defending co-champion Valley Gold started and finished strongly to swamp St Kevin’s B 51-13.
Kara Cox showed all her class in the shooting circle for Valley Gold, while goal attack Maddy Skinner created nice space in the circle for St Kevin’s B, which competed hard in the second and third quarters.