Maia Wilson shot 230 of her 252 attempts at last week’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball Championships for Mount Albert Grammar School as they clinched a four-peat of titles.
MAGS beat St Kentigern College 41-35 in a tense, see-saw final. Maia’s personal contribution was 36 from 39, in her last game for her school.
Next year she links up with the Central Pulse netball squad, joining her MAGS teammate and defender and North Mystics recruit Holly Fowler in the ANZ Championship.
Her precocious talent aside, it’s Maia’s work ethic that’s been a major contributing factor to her success so far on the netball and basketball courts.
Maia also shoots out the door early. ”Normally I’m out of the house at 4.45am and I don’t get home until 9.30pm” she told College Sport Media. “Normally I have strength and conditioning sessions before and after school and also a couple of court sessions each day.”
“I’m a really driven person so whatever I do I want to do to the best of my ability and I want to succeed, so I put a lot of time and effort into my training and making sure that I get the best out of my body.”
Last year the then 16-year made the Tall Blacks squad and tasted her international debut on the basketball court. She also trialled for the Silver Ferns this past winter. She can’t wait to join the Pulse.
“I’ll be moving down to Wellington in January to start my new adventure with the Pulse and I relish the opportunity to play with players like Jodi Brown and Ameliaranne Wells.
“I was fortunate enough to get a Silver Ferns World Cup trial so I have been immersed in that environment with some of those players, so hopefully training day in-day out with them will help my personal growth.”
She also revealed she has had three offers on the table to join an American University on a basketball scholarship. “I turned them down next year to play for the Pulse, but I am just going to take everything year-by-year and re-evaluate later.”
It was unseasonably warm in Canterbury last week. It was hotter inside the EA Networks Centre on Friday afternoon when MAGS and Auckland rivals St Kentigern College were locked up at 16-16 at halftime in the grand final.
“Two of the games we played on Thursday were hard games for us, against Wellington Girls’ College and Wellington East Girls’ College. They were two teams we had previously played against during the earlier College Netball series.”
“St Kent’s is a team that we play quite regularly and they are definitely a big rival of ours and the final was a really tough game. It was close throughout the whole 40 minutes and the score kept changing. We were up by one and then at another point we were down by three so we were really proud to come away with the win.”
Their road to the final saw them beat Baradene College (43-10), Roncalli College (59-11), Manukura High School (53-24) and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School (48-9) in pool play.
This was followed by Top 8 section wins over two Wellington Schools, Wellington Girls’ College (50-22) and Wellington East Girls’ College (44-27) , and St Kent’s in the final (41-35).
This was MAGS’ fourth straight title. Was this one sweeter than the others?
“One of our coaches, Te Aroha Keenan, is leaving us to go and coach in the English Super League for two years, so, this win was also for her.”
“We had four Year 13s in our squad, so for Te Aroha and the four of us all involved in our last games for the school before we go separate ways this is something we are really proud of.”
Four MAGS players made the 12-strong tournament team: Maia, Cait Dowden, Elle Temu and Holly Fowler. All four are Year 13s, so the win over St Kent’s in the final was their swansong in school netball.
Maia said the future is in good hands.
“Generally we have quite a young team, we also had four Year 10s and three Year 11s and two Year 12s, so there is certainly a lot of young talent coming through. It was good to see what the team will be like next year when these players came on and substituted us in some games, I feel like we’re leaving the squad in good heart.”
Maia said the team was also missing injured Goal Attack Alanis Toia-Tigafua throughout the tournament, meaning they had to adjust to her loss and the young players had to step up to fill her absence.
Netball will take a backseat soon for Maia, with NCEA exams coming up. But not for long. Maia Wilson is driven to succeed on the court.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand