Villa Maria College won the South Island secondary schools netball title when it beat St Kevin's College, of Oamaru, 39-28, in the final at Dunedin yesterday.
"We haven't had the trophy for 17 years," said coach Bev Gordon.
Villa was third at the same tournament last year and runner-up in the nationals.
A delighted Gordon said: "St Kevin's came out fighting, really, and they gave us a good contest. We took off in the second and third quarter when we settled down."
The coach said Villa was fortunate to have six Year 13 players on the court, along with a 16-year-old Year 11 student, Grace Prendergast, who "stood up" in the shooting circle at the tournament.
Leading 21-15 at half time, Villa Maria sewed up the win by taking a 13-6 advantage in the third quarter.
Gordon said it was a great team effort with four members, captain Phillipa Dean, Jo Tripp, Ellen Halpenny and Hannah Poff named in the Talented Players squad.
Canterbury representative Halpenny missed only one shooting attempt, landing 24 from 25 for a stunning 96 per cent return, while Prendergast was also accurate with 15 from 18 for 83%. The shooters had 20min each at goal-shoot and goal-attack.
Gordon said Villa's toughest game was the quarter-final against Rangi Ruru Girls' School, won 45-33.
Qualifiers for the October 7-10 nationals in Auckland: Villa Maria College, St Kevin's, St Peter's (Gore) and Motueka HS.
- The Press
Is the Canterbury team 'mentally soft'?Related story: North Harbour stun hapless Canterbury team