Leaders Inglewood outclass Sacred Heart side

TOP EFFORT: Inglewood’s Heidi Smith was classy in her side’s win last night.
TOP EFFORT: Inglewood’s Heidi Smith was classy in her side’s win last night.

Experience shone through last night as Inglewood maintained their lead at the top of the Taranaki premier one competition with a predictably comfortable 57-21 win over Sacred Heart Girls' College.

While the college side started with plenty of vigour and determination, they were no match for their opponents, who could afford to rotate their bench throughout the match at the TET Stadium in Stratford.

With a host of frontliners for Inglewood not taking to the court from the opening whistle, Sacred Heart scrapped their way through the first 15 minutes to trail by only 9-6. Had they been more clinical in the shooting circle they could even have had a lead.

Any thoughts they had of staying close were extinguished pretty rapidly in the second quarter as Inglewood slowly introduced their top lineup and went on a goal-scoring march, opening up a 22-12 lead by halftime.

Things got even uglier for Sacred Heart in the third quarter as they failed for the first 10 minutes to score, falling behind 31-12 at one stage.

To their credit they stuck at it and showed plenty of enthusiasm. Unfortunately for them it was not enough, especially after Lana Rowland took control of the shooting circle after she was introduced at halftime.

"We're happy with that," Inglewood coach Tracy White said after the match, despite the slow start.

"We're a team that either starts really well or start a bit shabby and against Sacred Heart, they were energetic and they came out firing."

As well as Rowland, the introduction of Erika Maifea in the defenders circle made life difficult for the opposition, while Heidi Smith put in a player of the day performance, firstly as wing defence and then centre.

Sacred Heart coach Eileen Tamati remained upbeat after the defeat, despite the margin of the loss.

"We were good for the first couple of quarters but then it seemed to slowly slip away," she said.

"You could see the experience of Inglewood in the way they read our play, used some nice fakes and they were a bit smarter, too," she said.

In the match at Hawera, New Plymouth Old Boys maintained their position in the top three with a 63-51 win against Naumai. Player of the day was Jamie Te Pau Konui.

The remaining match between Tysons and Raukura finished too late for this edition.

Taranaki Daily News