Southern, PhysedA to contest final

Two old rivals will again battle for the Dunedin premier crown this weekend.

Southern, seeking its first title since 2017, will play 2018 and 2019 champion Physed A in the season decider.

The Magpies sailed into the final with a 61-32 semifinal win over Physed B at the Edgar Centre on Saturday, while Physed A was similarly dominant in its 72-48 win over College A.

Southern got out to an early lead and built on it throughout the early semifinal.

With its defence smothering at times, it forced Physed to make errors which it then capitalised on.

In the attacking end, it played with confidence, often needing only a few passes to get the ball into its shooters.

Goal shoot Hannah Riddle-Pelchen was a constant option for her team-mates, shooting 54 of Southern’s goals.

Physed worked hard throughout the game, at times scoring evenly with the top-of-the-table team, but was unable to do so consistently.

Goal keep Lucy Ross was a standout, picking up plenty of tips and intercepts.

Ross and goal defence Brooke Johnston got themselves in good rebounding position under the hoop.

But it was not enough to stop Southern.

Its defence was tight from the first whistle and forced plenty of held ball.

In the first quarter, centre Sophie Erwood got an intercept and goal keep Penny Johnson forced a turnover while Physed was called for breaking twice.

Physed attackers Becky Paterson and Mikayla Thorn worked hard to hit the circle edge and get the ball into their shooters.

They often threw the ball back to team-mates on the transverse line to reset their play, as the pressure from Southern defenders made things tough.

Both teams had a slow start to the second quarter and only two goals were scored in the opening four minutes.

Southern hit its stride midway through and scored five in a row.

It had the ability to transition quickly from defence to attack, and vice versa, and score quickly.

Southern’s Tarryn Dickson and Zoey Flockton were injected into the game in the second half, at goal keep and wing attack, respectively.

By then, Southern was well into its work and extended its lead.

Ross continued to disrupt Southern play, but the experience Magpies side was able to retain the ball and convert.

It led by 22 goals heading into the final quarter, which it extended to 29 by the time the final whistle sounded.

In other games, Phys Ed C beat South Pac Titans 56-47, and St Hilda’s beat Otago Girls’ High School 69-56.

 - North Otago’s luckless season with bad weather continued when all games were cancelled on Saturday.

It means, regardless of results this weekend, the final on August 28 will be between Maheno Green and Valley Karaka.

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