Valley Karaka to meet Maheno Green in premier final

Valley Karaka looks to be the favourite for next weekend’s North Otago premier final.

It defeated St Kevin's College A 33-29 in the semifinals on Saturday.

Valley Karaka led from the start, having a four-goal lead after the first quarter. By halftime, it had a five-goal lead before St Kevin's A whittled Valley’s final margin to four goals.

In the other semifinal between Maheno Green and Valley Koru, the second and third qualifiers, both teams started strongly with Maheno one goal up going into the second quarter.

Maheno applied strong defence on Valley’s centre passes, allowing it to edge away by a couple of points each quarter by scoring off turnovers.

Maheno dominated the third quarter 11-5 and it did not look back, winning 43-32.

Pat Kawau was outstanding for Maheno at centre while Anika Smith and Hayley Lawrence were strong wing defences, causing plenty of turnovers.

In the playoff of the third and fifth qualifiers, Waitaki Girls’ High School Wildfire defeated Maheno Rebels 32-27.

Wildfire came out strongly and displayed the confidence to let the ball go. However, Rebels’ defence made for an exciting game.

Eventually Wildfire, with Emily Taylor and Jayda Loper strong defenders, took the game 32-27.

In the other bottom-four playoff game, Athletic Maroon went through to the final by defeating an understrength WGHS Lightning Strike 33-26.

Goal defence Aleisha Lucas had a strong game for Athletic working well with Sam Gill at wing defence.

Athletic Maroon midcourters Jasmine Peterson, Blayze Tisdall and Kim Lyttle fed their shooters brilliantly and were rewarded them by accurately giving Athletic the win.

In the other game, the men's New World team beat St Kevin's A 41-31.

 - Terry O'Neill

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