Tigers end perfect season with provincial 'AA' championship
By Fred Sherwin
Matthew seniors Brianna Thompson, Maddy Wakefield,
Brooklyn McAlear and Libby Peters are all
smiles after leading the Tigers to the OFSAA
'AA' championship on Saturday. Photo supplied
St. Matthew Tigers are provincial high school champions
after downing LaSalle Secondary School 40-35 in the gold
medal game at the OFSAA 'AA' girls basketball championship
in Kingsville on Saturday.
sixth seed Lady Tigers led from wire to wire in beating
the LaSalle Lancers who were seeded eighth going into
the tournament. The win caps a perfect season in which
they were 15-0 through regular and post season action.
jumping out to an early 7-0 lead in Saturday's final,
the Tigers maintained a five to eight point cushion until
late in the second quarter when the Lancers managed to
get to within three at 16-13, which is how the first half
would eventually get to within one point midway through
the third quarter before the Tigers held them off with
back-to-back three point shots to reestablish a seven
5-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter would give
the Tigers their biggest lead of the game before the Lancers
answered back with a 5-0 run of their own to narrow the
deficit to five with 3:30 left to go on the clock. That
would be as close as they would get however as the Tigers
held them at bay for the remainder of the game.
Wakefield and Brianna Thompson led the way on the scoresheet
for the Tigers with 14 and 12 points respectively. Brittany
Mason added six points, Brooklyn McAlear had five points
and Elizabeth Peters added a key three-pointer.
teams had to upset higher seeded teams in the semifinals
to make it into the final. St. Matt's upset the number
two seed from Timmins and LaSalle knocked off the number
four seed from Welland. Earlier in the tournament they
knocked off the top-seeded John McGregor Panthers from
Tigers path to the championship game included wins over
Bayside 73-50, J.M. Denison 60-23, St. Francis 55-50 and
Thompson was selected as the tournament MVP, anyone of
the five starters could have been given the honour, according
to coach Rick Despatie.
was a real team win. We were the smallest team in the
tournament by far, and we didn't really have a 'go to'
player like a lot of the top seeded teams had," said
Despatie. "If you look at the score sheets we had
a different high scorer almost every game."
key to the team's success is their familiarity with each
other. Three of the five starters -- Wakefield, Peters,
and Thompson -- have been paying together since Grade 7,
while McAlear joined the team in Grade 9. All four girls
will be graduating in the spring, a fact that wasn't lost
on them heading into Saturday's gold medal game.
goal all season was to win a medal at OFSAA. So heading
into the final we knew we had a chance to win gold. We
just had to work together and make it count and we did.
To do it together in our last year is amazing," said
rest of the team includes fifth starter Brittany Mason
as well as Cierra Carey, Alexis Yorke, Brianna Arichara,
Megan Kardos and spare Hanna Dudley. Chris Wakefield is
the Tigers' co-coach.
is St. Matt's second OFSAA medal in girls basketball.
The Tigers won a silver medal in the AAA championships
in 1999. The school also won the boys AAA championship
Team roster Brooklyn McAlear, Elizabeth Peters,
Brianna Thompson, Maddie Wakefield, Brittany
Mason, Alexis Yorke, Megan Kardos, Brianna
Arichara and Cierra Carey. Coaches Rick Despatie
and Chris Wakefield. Photo supplied
11:30 a.m., Nov. 22)
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