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Southern really came out of the gates firing, going out to a 6-1 lead early in the first quarter. Both teams had their Beko League players back in the mix which, while exciting to see, also caused a few teething issues with some combinations.
It was an untidy start with both teams guilty of several stepping transgressions as well as replayed ball. The two teams struggled to get goals on the board with a low-scoring first period of play. Southern finished the first quarter with a six-goal lead, 16-10.
The second quarter saw defensive tips and intercepts at both ends of the court, which meant there was a lot of back and forth before either team scored, but the momentum was still definitely in favour of Southern. Physed's attacking end seemed a little flat and lacking its usual finesse.
Southern goal keeper Tarryn Dickson was not helping Physed's attacking end, continuously getting tips along with some lovely clean intercepts to keep her team in possession and therefore the lead. By the end of the first half Southern had created themselves a comfortable lead, up 35-23.
Physed's attacking woes continued at the beginning of the third quarter with three wayward passes heading out the back of the court, even with the change of shooters - Sarah Boomer going to the bench and Meleitia Tatupu entering the game.
The Southern midcourt combination of Zoey Flockton, Sara McCarthy and Lauren Pickett went to work with some classy attacking passages as well as putting pressure on defensively.
Physed found its feet and clawed its way back into the game during the middle period of the third quarter. With a mixed third quarter, Southern maintained its 12-goal lead at the final break, 48-36.
Southern made a change at its shooting end, taking Hannah Riddle-Pelchen off for a break and bringing Bridie Burns back on in the goal shoot role. The change did not seem to slow the Southern attack and the ball still flowed nicely into the shooting circle. At the other end, Dickson picked up another couple of intercepts during the final 15 minutes.
Even with Mariah Nelson picking up some intercepts of her own at the Physed defence end, Southern finished the game with a comfortable win.
In other games, South Pacific Titans A put on a dominant display to take the victory over Southern Tuis 73-39. Physed B got the win over St Hilda's Senior A 59-49 and College A beat Physed Blue 63-37.
Physed Blue and Southern Tuis will compete in promotion-relegation games against University Albion A and Physed C respectively later this week before the beginning of round two after a break over Queen's Birthday Weekend.
- Bridget Thayer