Ex High win final
Ex High have ended their long Southland-wide netball league drought, beating St Mary's Men 37-31, in an enthralling final in Gore.
Little seperated the two teams during the game, and it was only midway through the fourth quarter that Ex High broke away from their opponents and cemented the victory.
It was their first Southland-wide title since 2004, and a special moment for long-serving coach Colleen Bond.
Ex High took a two goal lead into halftime, after an evenly fought first half, dominated by tough, physical defence.
St Mary's overcame the loss of Brad Lamb, to an Achilles injury early in the second half, to go on a mini- run and seize the lead back.
Ex High have been the most consistent team in the competition this season and showed why, ending the third quarter with a flourish, to head into the last term up 26-24.
With five minutes remaining, a Paul Newell goal trimmed Ex High's lead to one, but that was as close as it would get, with Ex High finishing the game strongly to secure the win.
Ex High's victory was built around their outstanding through-court defence, which created problems for the Men on attack.
The Men were only able to put up 43 attempts on goal, converting 31 of these.
Midcourters Suz Black and Hayley Saunders were two of Ex High's best players on the court, while circle defenders Krishanee Tamou and Dana Bond did a great job of disrupting the Men shooters.
Southern Steel squad member Ashleigh Smith knocked down some important goals during the second half for Ex High, especially in the closing minutes of the game. She finished with 26 goals from 33 attempts.
Quarter scores: (Ex High first)
8-6, 18-16, 26-24, 37-31.
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