A premier finish expected in this year’s girls’ basketball semi-finals.


Story courtesy of College Sport Media

The Sharp Cup is Wellington’s premier basketball league for secondary school girls. This year’s semi- finals see St Mary’s College take on Paraparaumu College and Sacred Heart College play Queen Margaret College.

The recent history of the Sharp Cup has seen a mix of schools make the finals. Queen Margaret College and Sacred Heart have accumulated two of the stronger records over the past five years. QMC are reigning cup holders after beating St Mary’s College in last year’s final.

Sacred Heart had a phenomenal team in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, the final was impacted by Covid and there was no crowd present to see QMC beat Sacred Heart. This was an upset as Sacred Heart had outplayed QMC in all their meetings during the regular season. The win in 2021 helped remedy QMC’s shock loss to HVHS in the 2019 final.



St Mary’s obviously learnt some good lessons from last year’s finals disappointment. This season has seen them be to basketball, what their school has been to Wellington rugby and netball for several years. They have dominated the premier basketball league. SMC have a perfect record of scoring nine wins from nine games. With their nine games they scored 100 points or more, on seven occasions. With one game they just missed out on the ton scoring 98. Their closest result was a 79-49 win over second placed Sacred Heart College.

The girls in black are a settled squad with a rich mix of talent. Their team includes representative players who bring solid experience to the court. This includes Tyrah Onesemo who is robust on defence and whose speed provides variety to Mary’s game play. Tatiana Mareko is a strong finisher, athletic and accomplished in the paint. Krystana Leota has a nice all-round game and if she gets in the flow, can be punishing with her three pointers.

Paraparaumu College have played well to make the semis. They have built a winning season with 5 wins and 4 losses. However, the semi brings forward a very tough challenge. Central to Paraparaumu’s game will be the work of 6-foot-tall Louise Scriven. Her height and vertical leap make her a formidable opponent. She is extremely effective in defence and with blocking shots and collecting rebounds.  

The second semi-final between Sacred Heart and Queen Margaret will be an intriguing dual. They last met only two weeks ago where the Hutt girls won by a single point 82-81. It was a game where the lead swapped numerous times. Neither team could get separation, on the scoreboard, over the other.



The young Sacred Heart team is building to be as competitive as their team from 2020 and 2021. Their loss to SMC was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. Mya Tipene-Tagoai is a key player for Sacred Heart. She is tough with ball at hand and strong in driving to the hoop. Leah Ah-Ken represented Samoa in this year’s FIBA U16s Women’s Asian Championship. A humble player she is another strong finisher.

Queen Margaret College are looking to complete a three-peat. They’re realistic in knowing they face two very considerable hurdles to get there. Their finishing third in the league is quite an accomplishment as some players are new to competitive basketball. However, they do have Wellington’s only member in the recently named Junior Tall Ferns, Tia Pavihi. Tia was part of the QMC team that made the 2019 final. So, if she gets there it will be her fourth final in five years.

Tia and team-mate Brook Tongia are the league’s two top scorers. Year 11 student, as well as shooting prowess, Tongia brings extra effort and determination to QMC. Also, notable has been the performances of Year 9 student Ameia Williams, who at the mid-point of the season was one of the league’s top-6 point scorers. Williams shows a lot of heart in taking on older and taller opponents. Her cheeky style is loved by her teammates. QMC won seven of their nine games. Loses were to St Mary’s (71-109) and Sacred Heart (81-82).

We can expect a different game to the recent group-phase match-up between these two rivals; higher tempo and more pressure filled. Look for composure and resilience as a guide to who will ultimately take this sudden death contest.

The girls’ basketball trophy gets its name from the Japanese photocopy company that use to be a major sponsor of basketball in Wellington, 20-30 years ago.

Previous finalists

2019: Hutt Valley High School beat Queen Margaret College

2020: Wellington Easts Girls College beat Sacred Heart College 

2021: Queen Margaret College beat Sacred Heart College

2022: Queen Margaret College beat St Mary’s College


Semi-finals (to be played at Walter Nash Stadium, Taita, Lower Hutt Friday 18 August 2023

6pm: St Mary’s College vs Paraparaumu College

7.30pm: Sacred Heart College vs Queen Margaret College

Article added: Friday 18 August 2023


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