Graydon Sealy rule
Springer Memorial sure got that rematch. Just not the revenge.
The clash of the titans proved another coronation for schools’ netball’s latest Under-19 dynasty, as Graydon Sealy had five unanswered goals in a pivotal stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters before outlasting Springer 32-27 in yesterday’s title game thriller at the Netball Stadium.
It was the perfect cap to Graydon Sealy’s unbeaten run to a third straight championship, which also started with a similarly stirring, season-opening win over their rivals a month ago.
Yet Springer Memorial weren’t the only ones with revenge on their minds, as the Paddock Road lasses suffered an equally heartbreaking let-down against the same opponents in the 2009 final.
And memories of that heartache must’ve come rushing back after star wing attack Tyneisha Rowe was forced to leave the riveting contest in a tense fourth quarter when Graydon Sealy were holding on to an eight-goal lead (29-21).
Worse yet, Springer subsequently threatened via five successive goals from goal shooter Shakeillia Smith, duly leaving the gripping duel in the balance.
But the Government Hill girls left it too late, and opposing goal attack Nikita President put a swift end to the rousing rally with a timely goal before Shonica Wharton added two of her own to seal the deal.
It was a thrilling finish to a back-and-forth showdown that deserved nothing less while the two heavyweights traded scores like punches for the first eight minutes.
Springer seemingly flinched first, falling behind 14-10 after failing to take advantage of Wharton’s early struggles when Smith couldn’t convert her similarly easy attempts.
However, Graydon Sealy let their rivals right back in the contest, dropping some easy passes which led to quick strikes from Smith and Khadija Domingo that got Springer within two (16-14) at half-time.
And they even managed to reduce the deficit to one (21-20) midway through the third by making most of their possessions count after Wharton began to find her groove.
But Rowe and Gabriella Headley took over the middle of the court, and Graydon Sealy scored four of the next five goals to end the quarter before threatening to put away the contest by netting four unanswered to start the fourth period (29-21).
The run resulted from of a fine all-round team performance which centred around great marking and crisp passing that led to easy opportunities for Wharton and President.
That all changed once Rowe went down with a knee injury, leaving Graydon Sealy an uninspired group facing a Springer team that started to smell blood once tournament MVP Dominique Browne and Tiffany Morris began to put their stamp on the game. However, Springer just weren’t able to make up for an eight-goal hole with five minutes remaining.
Wharton converted 16 of her 25 attempts while President missed just one of her 17 tries.
Smith was 18 of 25 at the other end for Springer; Domingo went seven of 13 while Zakiya Kirton scored two of her three attempts.
Earlier, Combermere outscored Foundation 6-3 in a decisive third-quarter spell before holding the Christ Church side to just two fourth-quarter goals in a 26-14 victory in the third-place game.
Sheniqua Thomas converted 14 of 18 attempts for the winners while Donika Payne was eight of 12 and Marissa Elliot went four of seven.