Macca’s Whelan Trophy Division I Final: Rangi Ruru vs Christchurch Girls’

Cowles Stadium was packed as out as the local High School Season came to a conclusion on Tuesday Night

Photos courtesy GamefaceNZ

In keeping with the theme of rematches in the Grand Final – CGHS and Rangi Ruru met for the third time in four years (2016, 2017, 2019) and this game certainly lived up the hype. Both teams had leads in the first quarter, with balanced scoring for both teams helping them answer each other’s run. A quick five-point run for Ashlee Strawbridge gave Rangi Ruru a nine-point lead early in the second quarter.

An 18-4 run for Christchurch Girls’ High that crossed the half-time break saw the #1 seed with a five-point lead of their own, with Violet Eaton scoring six of her 10 points in the run. The fourth quarter was Rangi-Ruru’s time to shine, as they went on 9-1 run, with Finals MVP Ashlee Strawbridge scoring almost half of these, as Rangi Ruru moved out to a seven-point lead with under three minutes remaining. A pair of layups for Elsie McRobb and Sammy Arnold gave CGHS life, and an Arnold steal in the dying seconds saw her have a chance to tie the game just fall short – allowing Rangi Ruru to inbound the ball and claim their third Whelan Trophy Championship since the CBA began running the competition, 64-61.

Ashlee Strawbridge finished with a difference-making line of 28 points and 12 rebounds, and hit an excellent 4/8 from three.

We caught up with Rangi Ruru Head Coach Lori McDaniel to see what she thought: “I am very happy with the ability to win in what turned out to be an exceptionally difficult game, with a fantastic atmosphere. The inability to communicate effectively during play – because of the crowd noise – made it very important to give good messages during timeout and quarter breaks.

“Christchurch Girls’ High’s ability to shoot and penetrate caused us a lot of problems, but our inside presence was eventually a deciding factor for us.”

Full Stats can be seen here (courtesy Sharon Erwood and Rebecca Moon)

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