SINGAPORE - They fell behind after the first quarter, clawed their way back in the second period and trailed by a point entering the final 10 minutes.
That was when CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) showed their class, dominating the final period of the Netball C Division final yesterday to beat the Singapore Sports School 31-28 and retain their crown at the Yio Chu Kang Sports Hall.
Speaking to The New Paper after the match, centre and captain of CHIJ Secondary, Felicitas Ang, 14, breathed a sigh of relief.
She said: "I feel really happy that I've brought glory to my school. Despite all our mistakes, we showed that we wanted to win this more."
The Sports School girls gave their opponents a run for their money after leading the first quarter 10-6, but the champions clawed their way back, edging the second quarter 10-7.
It was a see-saw battle in the third period and the Sports School held a 25-24 entering the final 10 minutes. But the challengers could only collect three more points as CHIJ Secondary tightened up their defence to lift the title again.
Winning skipper Felicitas credited the team's never-give-up spirit for seeing them through a tough contest.
"They were leading us for three quarters, but it's not over until the final whistle, so every single second counts," she said.
"We didn't take the match by quarters and we didn't look at the clock. We just focused on what we had to do."
In the final quarter, the CHIJ girls came charging out of the blocks and when they took the lead for the first time in the match, the sports hall erupted as their supporters chanted, "Let's go IJ, let's go!".
And that was exactly the rallying cry the girls needed to hear.
It was an emphatic 7-3 dominance in the final quarter for CHIJ.
The girls from Sports School admitted the pressure weighed them down.
Alexandra Stewart, 14, the team's goal shooter, said: "I think there was a lot of pressure on us, and we thought about the game too much that we started making silly mistakes.
"The pressure of being in the Sports School, defending a very slim lead and just the noise from the crowd affected us.
"I believe we wanted the title as much, but the small mistakes really cost us."
In the other final played yesterday, Methodist Girls' School won their first netball B Division title when they beat CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh).
The MGS girls won the tightly-contested match 31-27 to prevent a CHIJ Secondary double.
This article was published on April 22 in The New Paper.
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