St Andrew, St Hugh's put titles on the line
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
Defending champions St Hugh's and St Andrew high schools put their titles on the line this afternoon in the finals of the respective junior and senior Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Corporate Area netball competition at the Leila Robinson Court today.
St Hugh's will take on The Queen's School at 1 p.m., while at 3 p.m., senior champions St Andrew will do battle with Queen's at 3 p.m.
Also there will be third-place play-offs with Camperdown High's juniors facing Norman Manley High and St Catherine High meeting St Hugh's seniors.
In the seniors' final, the Jennifer 'Shaggy' Brown-coached St Andrew, having won for the first time last year, will be hoping to retain the title. They will start as favourites against the Marvette Anderson-coached Queen's, whom they easily dismissed in a second-round game three weeks ago at the same venue.
In last week's semi-finals, both finalists advanced in similar fashion, with a one-point win over their opponents, so fans could see another nail-biting finish.
The coaches are oozing with confidence.
"I know that Queen's will be coming hard, because when you are wounded you want it more, but my girls are very ready to continue their winning record against them," said Brown. "They are extremely confident and, after the scare against St Hugh's, we have worked on those mistakes. So if a similar situation occurs, they can deal with it."
Anderson believes her team can hand the defending champions their first defeat of the season.
"It is going to be very tough and we need a perfect game to defeat them; and I expect the team to make minimal turnovers and, once they do that, they can go all the way," she said.
"They are upbeat and, despite losing to them the last two times they met, they are now ready for the challenge and should be at their best for this encounter," added Anderson, who was away in New Zealand on national senior duties at the Fast5 World when her team lost to St Andrew in the second round.
St Andrew will be relying on their defensive unit, led by Camika Douglas, Ornella Walters and experienced goalkeeper Azeza McCarthy, who has been outstanding all season.
For Queen's, centre, Priscilla Thomas will be hoping to get accurate passes to goal attack Khadijah Williams and goal shooter Ramona Haughton to nullify the opposing defence.
An epic battle is expected in the junior final, as both teams are unbeaten this season.
Queen's, which won the title in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, will be seeking title number five while their opponents are hoping to make it two titles in a row to keep their unbeaten record for the past two seasons intact.
Both teams have very tall goal shooters, with Kadie Ann Dawkins leading the charge for the defending champions, and Simone Gordon for Queen's.