Captain's moving address inspires TCC's strong finish
NETBALL: A moving address from captain Zeckeisha Oakley helped inspire The Cathedral College open team to claim third place at the Vicki Wilson Cup.
Year 12 student Oakley and teammates Mackenzie Reid and Kiarra Hansen played their last schoolgirls competition at the Gold Coast event which wrapped up on Sunday.
TCC won three of its four round games to finish second in its pool and advance to the top eight play-offs.
The team beat Moreton Bay College 28-21 in the quarter-final but were beaten 36-28 in the semi by Somerset College, who went on to win the premier high school competition.
That set them up for a showdown with powerhouse Matthew Flinders College in the play-off for third and fourth.
Coach Renee Williams said it was before this game that Oakley made the emotional speech to the team.
"Zeckeisha spoke about her family at home in Woorabinda and how she wished they could be there to watch her play her last-ever school game,” Williams said.
"Her words inspired the team to think of their own families and to play their best netball ever.
"It gave them a reason to believe in themselves and win a game against a team who have been the top school in the state for the past two years.”
Williams said Oakley defied injuries to her knee, ankle and finger to take the court.
"Zeckeisha has captained this team in an inspiring way. She's not the loudest but she has the biggest heart and a never-say-die attitude,” she said.
TCC faced adversity early in the competition, losing goal shooter Keera Kingston to a knee injury in the first half of the first game.
Williams said mid-court player Lilly Peachey stepped up into goal attack to fill the gap left by Kingston.
"Lilly was outstanding. She proved her dominance and versatility on court once again and was a rock for the team,'' Williams said.
"Emmanita Paki joined our team later this year and she and Lilly form a dynamic duo.”
Williams said departing duo Hansen and Reid were pivotal to the team's success.
Hansen played goal attack role on the first day and wing attack in the finals and, despite a chest infection, produced some great netball.
Williams said Reid was instrumental in the quarter-final especially, tearing up the mid-court alongside Oakley to help secure the win against a team full of state players.
Brielle Kennedy shot at 90 per cent accuracy in the finals, while Liezel Viljoen, Isabelle Shearer and Rhianna Whouley were consistent and stood tall against the state's best.