Mia Lavis will return to the Border with a gold medal around her neck after helping Australia to Commonwealth glory in the Caribbean.
The 17-year-old, from Howlong, celebrated the biggest win of her burgeoning netball career on court at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex in Tobago on Friday morning.
Australia defeated South Africa 39-29 in the final of the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games FAST5 netball tournament with Lavis outstanding on her way to 30 points.
The Albury High School student nailed five four-point shots during the power play and South Africa had no answer to her movement or accuracy.
Throughout the tournament, Australia used Lavis as a weapon coming off the bench to strike in the latter part of each quarter, when shots count double, and she delivered big time in the final.
South Africa flew out of the blocks fast and put Australia under the sort of early pressure they hadn't faced in any of their previous four games, but Lavis swung the balance of play with two four-pointers to make it a 10-9 quarter-time lead.
Four more points from the steady hand of the Wodonga Raider helped push the half-time margin out to eight points before Australia took control after the main break.
Lavis hit the scoreboard four times in the third quarter, including another four-point shot, to make it 32-15 at the final huddle.
South Africa had to resort to shooting from long range as they desperately tried to claw back the deficit with the game slipping away from them.
A huge roar went up when a late shot for six points brought them back within reach but it was Lavis who iced the game for Australia with another nerveless four-point shot to get the party started.
Australia's players and supporters yelled in delight as the final siren confirmed their status as the first Commonwealth Youth Games netball champions around 8am.
Lavis hit the ground running at the Games as Australia beat Scotland, Canada and host nation Trinidad & Tobago to finish top of Pool B.
The Australians then overcame England in Thursday's semi-final to set up the clash against South Africa on the final day of competition.
To say it's been a whirlwind 12 months for Lavis, who missed much of last season with a stress fracture, would be a gross understatement.
This time last year, she was working her way back to form and fitness ahead of attacking O and M finals with the Raiders 17-and-under side.
Financial support from the Border netball community enabled her parents and sister to travel to the Caribbean to cheer her on and what was already an unforgettable trip was given the perfect ending when Lavis and Australia clinched gold against the South Africans in front of a raucous travelling contingent of supporters.
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