Waikato team 'out of their depth'
It was one disappointing loss after another for Waikato in the final round of the Lois Muir Challenge as the inexperienced team fell to their seasoned counterparts.
The final round-robin of the challenge in Porirua over the weekend saw the Waikato team defeated in all three matches.
Waikato coach Philemena Beale said the early exposure of the majority of the team, some of whom are still in high school, led to her side being "out of their depth".
"It is too early to be exposing them to this level [without the] more experienced players around to nurture the influence on court and help the younger players with decision making," she said.
"The one positive from the weekend tournament is all players got exposure to this level and had some court time. This will be very beneficial to those young players that will have future trials shortly for secondary school."
In their opening match against the Otago-Southland team – dubbed the Remarkables – Waikato had a good opening run and were level at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter.
But the second quarter saw the Remarkables ramp up the intensity and Waikato were unable to counter. "We didn't adjust quickly enough and were on the back foot and played catch-up from there in," Beale said of the 60-44 defeat.
A sharp Western (Manawatu-Taranaki) team controlled the ball for the duration of their match, executing clever offensive plays that undid Waikato in a 68-49 loss, while Cook Strait (Wellington-Tasman) ran away with a 79-48 victory.
Cambridge High School's Dawn De Bruin-Wakelin was a standout at wing defence for Waikato.
Beale said the youngster, who is currently trialling for the New Zealand Secondary Schools team, applied all the lessons taught in training and became a formidable opponent on the court, while captain Tennille McDonald led the side well.