Waimea College senior netball coach Faye Eden has hailed the effort of her players in finishing eighth at the New Zealand secondary school netball championships in Napier last week.
The team went into the tournament as 16th and last seed, but belied that position with a finish in the top half of the competition.
The team won two matches and lost five, but Eden said that didn't accurately represent the effort of the side.
Two of the losses were against the eventual finalists (Mt Albert Grammar and Tu Toa), and three by less than five points.
Of more importance was the fact they finished so high in their first trip to nationals and were the second-highest of the five South Island teams.
"Waimea, never been there before, top eight in New Zealand, that's pretty darn good."
After a first-up defeat to Mt Albert, they faced Columba College, a match they had targeted after going down by only two points at the South Island champs.
"We were up 7-1 and they called time-out, so we knew we were in their heads.
"We did smash them."
They then came from behind to defeat St Mary's College from Wellington to enter the top half of the draw.
Waimea didn't win a game from that stage, but Eden said the team fought hard.
"We just never gave up."
Captain Zoe Walker was deservedly named in the tournament team for an outstanding week.
Along with Ella Marwick and Emily Jensen, she played every quarter, but Eden said the whole team played brilliantly.
The tournament capped a long season for the team that started in February.
It was also the last time those in year 13 would represent the school on the netball court, and Eden said it was a great way for them to finish.
- The Nelson Mail