Photo: Intense midcourt action in the AFNA Champion of Champions Netball Tournament at the Leila Robinson Courts in Kingston on Monday.
The two Jamaican schools contesting the AFNA Champion of Champions Netball Tournament at the Leila Robinson Courts in Kingston, Excelsior High and Holmwood Technical, made it two wins from as many games on Monday with comfortable wins over Stringer Memorial and Dominica State College respectively.
Excelsior High were in better shape on day two and raced to a 12-6 lead over Stringer Memorial at the end of the first quarter. They then doubled their score in the second half while holding their opponents to one less goal in the quarter as the half time scores read 24-11.
The Christopher Smart coached team kept their foot on the pedal scoring 15 goals in the quarter while holding Springer to just 6 goals for a 39-17 third quarter lead.
With victory virtually assured, Smart took the chance to give other players court time but their intensity of play remained high as they banged in another 15 goals in the final quarter while maintaining their defensive discipline as the game ended 54-22 to the Jamaican champion school.
Racoya Douglas with 27 goals from 39 attempts and Hasana Williams with 23 goals from 32 attempts led the way for Excelsior while Jada Smith with 16 goals from 32 attempts was the top scorer for Springer Memorial.
Smart was pleased with the improved performance of the girls compared to day one.
“The girls performed better today. Yesterday they were a bit nervous and we didn’t get to warm up properly, but today was good. Our captain Crystal Crawford has decided that she wants to win this championship and you can see it in her play.
“We are going to keep taking it one day at a time and certainly Excelsior will keep going from strength to strength as the tournament progresses,” he promised.
Holmwood Technical were also in a nonsense mood as they put away Dominica State College (DSC) in no uncertain manner.
An emphatic first quarter performance saw them drop in 16 goals compared to DSC’s 7. Holmwood equaled their first quarter score as did DSC as the half time scores read 32-14.
The Christiana based school continued to dominate the Dominican team scoring 15 points in the third quarter while limiting DSC to just 3 to lead their opponents by a whopping 30 goals at 47-17 heading into the final quarter.
Holmwood then wrapped up the contest at 60-24 following a 13-7 final quarter performance from the two teams.
Carlene Graham-Powell, head coach of Holmwood Technical, was pleased with how her players were progressing.
“I think they are slowly coming into their own. Leaving from the country to come into town is always a little bit of nerves so, I guess we have gotten rid of that, so today they did much better and I am really pleased with the performance.
It was a bad day for the teams from St. Lucia in the late games as, Anglican High from Grenada got the better of Soufriere Secondary while Scarborough Secondary of Trinidad and Tobago condemned Micoud Secondary to their second loss in two days.
Soufriere got off to a good start in their first game of the competition as they ended the first quarter tied at 6 all with Anglican High. But the more agile and hard running Anglican team took control of the game in the second quarter establishing an 18-13 half time lead.
Anglican put the game beyond doubt in the third quarter when they outscored Soufriere 14-6 to lead 32-19 with 15 minutes to play. They then recorded their first win of the tournament with a 41-26 victory following a strong fourth quarter performance.
Darlyne Evans-Lambert led the scoring for Anglican with 25 goals from 43 while her teammate Joda Nelson had 16 from 25. Megan Neston led the way for Soufriere with 21 from 35.
Barbara Simpson thought her girls equipped themselves better on day two.
“We played similar to yesterday (Sunday)…in our first game it was just tough luck, we didn’t understand what the umpires were blowing for so it really demotivated the girls…but today (Monday) we did exactly what we needed to do, the umpiring was very good today.
“We are looking to continue winning so that we can come out of the zone, most likely with Excelsior as the second place and then we will meet them again in the finals,” she said with confidence.
The highly touted Scarborough sent an early signal that they would be able to back up their reputation, with a solid performance against Micoud. They jumped out to an early 12-4 first quarter lead before extending it to 19-9 at half time.
Scarborough then inched further ahead at the end of the third quarter at 25-14 before wrapping up a routine win at 35-20.
Phoebe Warner with 18/29 and Gademisha Henry with 15/20 were the top scorers for Scarborough while Merlcassa Theodule 10/28 and Michege Rodolph 9/13 top scored for Micoud.
Kyla Keith-Wilson was just as confident as her players in her post match assessment.
“Overall our girls did exceptionally well, they played, they understood what they were sent out to do, they understood the mandate and they executed well for the most part.”
She did admit that the conditions would require some amount of adjustment by her players.
“The girls are not very familiar with this heat so it gives them a little bit of pressure, so it’s just a matter of resting a little more, hydrating a little more, but I think once that is done, we will continue to bring it because we can play,” she assured.
Scarborough will go for win number two today when they take on Dominica State College at 2pm while Excelsior High will aim to make it 3 from 3 when they go up against Soufriere at 4pm. The other game at 4pm will see Christ Church Foundation and Micoud Secondary going for their first win of the tournament.