Gaynstead are giants of high school netball

... register all-island double over Denbigh

Observer writer

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Gaynstead High School proved just how formidable they are this season when they added the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association All-Island Netball double last Friday, to their Urban Area double that they claimed on Tuesday, with Under-16 and Under-19 wins over Rural Area double champions Denbigh High.

The Gaynstead Senior team claimed only their first hold on the Urban Area Under-19 title on Tuesday but returned to the Leila Robinson Courts on Friday, clearly with unfinished business. Obviously not satisfied with just one title, they battled fiercely with Denbigh in the first quarter but trailed at the end by seven goals to eight.

Both sets of fans would have expected it to remain a close contest throughout but just as she had done in the Urban Area final, defender Latanya Wilson made the difference for her team, but only one quarter earlier. Stepping into the passing lanes to make key interceptions and just making it difficult for Denbigh in the defensive circle, the national representative, along with Britney Logan (23/26) and Kelsey Jonas (12/13) at the attacking end, allowed Gaynstead to build up a seven-goal half-time lead at 18-11.

The Dalton Hines-coached girls were able to control the game in the second half, increasing their lead at the end of the third quarter by two at 27-18.

Desperate to try to claw their way back into the contest, Denbigh went to their bench with regularity in the final quarter, but the frequent changes failed to bring the desired results as Gaynstead strolled to victory at 35-26. Denay Thomas was the high scorer for Denbigh with 18/23.

The Under-16 final which preceded the Under-19 final, while also going the way of Gaynstead, was a much more engaging contest.

Denbigh appeared to be running away with the first quarter but a late surge by Gaynstead saw them close the gap to just one as they trailed 5-6.

Steady play in the attacking circle saw Gaynstead open up a six-goal half-time lead at 15-9. There was a great response from Denbigh in the third quarter as they whittled down the lead to just two. Denbigh were able to hold their opponents to just three goals while adding seven of their own with the third quarter score reading 18-16 in favour of Gaynstead.

With just two goals separating the teams, it was anybody's game. Both teams gave it everything they had in the final stanza and Denbigh had a chance to draw the game level at 20-all but failed to do so. In the end Gaynstead were able to hold on for a 24-21 win.

Gabrielle Phillips 14/21 and Desanay McIntosh 10/14 were the high scorers for Gaynstead, while Marie-Ann Smith 13/19 was the high scorer for Denbigh.

Hines praised the consistency shown by both his teams at both ends of the court while hailing the play of his national representative.

“We wanted to make sure we attack well and defend well, that is always the game plan for my teams and for the most part both teams were consistent.

“When you have a quality defender like Latanya Wilson, she really motivated the rest of the girls and I thought they stepped up beautifully. At this moment I am really just overwhelmed and happy for the victory.”

He was almost at a loss for words to describe what it meant to claim four titles in a week.

“I am very humbled, Gaynstead having this achievement. It does add to my résumé naturally,” he said with a smile. “I am really ecstatic, thankful, words really can't express.”

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