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Holmwood, Queen's Win All-Island Netball Titles
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
Holmwood Technical High seniors and The Queen's School juniors topped the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) all-island finals held on Wednesday at the Leila Robinson Courts in St Andrew.
A two-hour rain delay almost forced the postponement of the finals but when it cleared sufficiently for play the Carlene Graham-Powell-coached Holmwood made it title number seven with a 44-31 victory over Queens' senior team.
Queen's, who were seeking a double, had to be satisfied with one title as they brushed aside St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) 29-19.
In the junior final, the long delay seemed to have had an effect on the girls from St Elizabeth Technical who led 4-2 before rain halted their match.
Despite brilliant play from STETHS's goal attack Ashalee Gordon, Queen's turned things around.
Goal shooter Simone Gordon was unstoppable inside the goal circle, using her superior height to good advantage as the Corporate Area champions led 15-10 at the half-time break. They maintained their advantage to the end as Gordon scored 22 goals from 29 attempts while Taneisha Blackwood top-scored for the losers with 12 from 15.
Queen's coach Marvette Anderson, whose teams had won junior titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, was pleased with another success.
"I am happy for another success and I didn't expect it to be that easy, as I thought STETHS would have come out playing harder. During the rain break when we were down, I got an opportunity to talk to the girls and it paid off as they came out more purposeful," said Anderson.
Losing coach Janet Burke admitted that the rain delay affected her girls.
"There was rain for several days and this should not have been the venue for the final," she said. "The surface affected the girls ... but they did their best and I want to give God thanks," said Burke.
Queen's started well in the senior final with goal attack Khadijah Williams and centre Tavia Porter leading the way, while for Holmwood the leading players were goal attack Nicole Dixon, wing attack Naleika Watson and centre Trishann Mason.
Both teams traded goals but it was the Queen's team that took a 9-7 lead at the first break and led 20-15 at half-time.
In the third quarter, Holmwood reduced the lead to one at 27-26 and were at their brilliant best in the final quarter.
Nicole Dixon was the star as she was all over the court making stops, spreading balls to her teammates and sinking goals at regular intervals. She was later named MVP of the final as she top-scored with 35 goals from 43 attempts. Goal shooter Shanique Dixon had nine from 16. Williams top scored for the losers with 24 from 37 attempts.
An excellent game
A very emotional coach Carlene Graham-Powell praised her team. "An excellent game, the girls have been focused, they have been training hard. Queen's came and gave us a good run but we knew from the beginning if the girls remained focused it would have been us at the end, as it was all about fitness and mental toughness," she said. Losing coach Anderson was extremely disappointed.
"The girls lost it mentally in the fourth quarter. They lost their composure and they were not concentrating," said Anderson.