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After being beaten by competition newcomer Mossburn in round one, St Mary's was desperate to makean improved start this week.
The scores were even midway through the first quarter, with St Mary's Gore connections more evident. The Invercargill side built greater buffers on the scoreboard each quarter.
Victorious coach Sarah Hamilton said the pick-up of Collegiate defence Kataraina Harris has boosted the team's defensive end.
The Invercargill Netball Centre under-19 shooting duo of Tyra Dunn and Bay-leigh Johnson cemented their combination on Thursday with some deft interchanges and offloads.
Winton beat Central Southland College 46-17. Winton was stronger throughout the court and built on its lead consistently. Defenders Amy Cunningham and Alanah Vinson were especially effective and goal attack Georgia Cameron made her debut in the league in the second half and netted 14 of her 15 shots at goal.
Defending champion Gore Ex-High had to work hard to overcome Mossburn 38-30.
Mossburn led 12-10 at quarter time, but Ex-High was able to claw its way back to lead 21-18 at halftime and win each of the next two quarters.
Winning Coach Colleen Bond said it was not easy.
"There was good defensive pressure applied from both teams which forced a lot of turnovers. Mossburn are definitely going to be a force. Their shooter is ... stunning to watch."
Rata started against Southland Girls' High School strongly and never let up. It led 41-9 at halftime.
Coach Debbie Munro credited the win to a full-court team performance, finished by high percentage shooting.
Round 2 results: SGHS V Rata, Invercargill St Marys 73 Gore St Marys 40, Winton 46 CSC 17, Gore Ex High 38 Mossburn 30.
-By John Langford