Columba down defending champs, playing off for 3rd/4th

Columba College has made an emphatic statement at the national secondary school netball championships.

The Dunedin school swept defending champions Hamilton Girls’ High School 29-22 yesterday to earn a spot in the top four.

They will now face Wellington school St Mary’s College in the third and fourth playoff this afternoon.

Columba finished eighth last year and coach Lauren Piebenga earlier this week said they were aiming to better their spot this year.

They started day three of the tournament by handing Howick College their first loss, beating the Upper North Island champions 27-23.

Howick had been superb throughout the tournament, but Columba ground out the gutsy win.

Columba went on to beat Hamilton Girls’, keeping the defending champions to just six goals in the first half.

Columba led 17-6 at halftime in a full court performance. Midcourter Millie Scott put in a big shift with 23 feeds and nine goal assists, defender Emilie Nicholson picked up three intercepts and shooter Brenna Lyons slotted 17 goals.

But they capitalised on Hamilton Girls’ 25 turnovers throughout the game. Hamilton did win the final quarter 11-6.