Champ St Hilda's looking ominous

St Hilda's Collegiate has got its South Island title defence off to a strong start.

It is one of four Otago schools to progress to the top 16 in Christchurch after the initial group stages and looks a top chance of repeating.

The others from the region to advance were Taieri College, Waitaki Girls' High School and Columba College.

Teams need to top their second-round groups to advance to the semifinals.

St Hilda's rolled through its initial group, its closest game being a 54-32 win over Waitaki Girls'.

In its three games, it scored 157 goals - more than any other team - while conceding only 72.

It then won the first of its second-round games with a 42-36 win over Christchurch Girls' High School.

Needing a top-two finish in the group to advance to the top-16 group stage, Waitaki Girls' was able to overcome its loss to qualify.

It claimed a 55-32 win over Craighead Diocesan, before edging Kaiapoi High School 32-31.

It beat Villa Maria College 44-42 yesterday afternoon to win its first second-round game.

Taieri College finished second in its group, but faces a tough challenge in round two as it needs to get past St Hilda's.

It beat Otago Girls' High School 40-37 in its key game, while also beating St Kevin's College 37-29.

In yesterday's second-round game, it emerged with a 39-29 win over Rangiora High School.

The team also celebrated a milestone in the morning, with Kaylee Bezett playing her 100th game for the school's senior A side.

Bonus points helped Columba College but not Dunstan High School in their group.

Each won two games, alongside Marlborough Girls' College, but Columba and the Marlborough school advanced by virtue of picking up bonus points.

Columba beat Dunstan 42-34 in the two sides' match-up, but was edged 44-43 in its match against Marlborough Girls'.

Dunstan toppled Marlborough Girls' 34-33, but the margin of its loss to Columba meant it was unable to advance.

Columba beat Central Southland College 57-24 yesterday afternoon in its first second-round game.

The tournament's finals are tomorrow.

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