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(Posted 2:30 p.m., Nov. 9)
Cairine Wilson successfully defends as 'AA' hoops crown

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the Cairine Wilson Wildcats senior girls basketball team pose with the championship trophy after winning the NCSSAA 'AA' final on Nov. 9. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Cairine Wilson Wildcats will be moving on to the OFSAA 'AA' provincial girls basketball championships after successfully defending their NCSSAA title last week.

The Lady Wildcats had compiled an 8-0 regular season record heading into the playoffs that included a 52-46 win over AAA champs Mother Teresa on Oct. 17.

The Wildcats’ opponents in the AA final were the Immaculate Saints who had a mediocre 4-4 record during the regular season, including a 44-33 loss to the Wildcats.

Despite their respective regular season records, it was the Saints who got out to a strong start in the final, jumping out to a 10-3 first quarter lead. The Wildcats responded with a 6-0 run to close out the quarter and narrow the deficit to a single point.

After giving up 10 points in the opening stanza, the Wildcats tightened up on defence, limiting the Saints scoring opportunities and creating a string of turnovers which resulted in a 13-2 run and a 22-14 lead by half-time.

Far from being done, the Saints came out of the half-time break determined to battle back into the game. And battle they did. Led by Avery Walker, who scored a game high 17 points, including four three-point shots, the underdogs outscored the Wildcats 17-8 in the third quarter to take a 31-30 lead into the final stanza.

But just as they did in the second quarter, the Wildcats re-focused their efforts on defence in the final 10 minutes of the game, shutting the Saints down and capitalizing on their turnovers. Cairine Wilson retook the lead with a pair back-to-back baskets by Hadeza Ismaila and Sylvie Strong on the first two shots from the floor.

With momentum on their side, the Wildcats extended their advantage to seven points and never looked back. The closest the Saints got was 38-35, but a pair of baskets by Ismaila, including a three-point bucket, would nip the threat in the bud and the Wildcats would cruise to a 43-37 win.

Ismaila finished the game with a team high 15 points, while Navneet Sandhu and Sylvie Strong added 12 and seven points respectively.

After the game, Shoup contributed the win to his team’s play on defence.

“We’ve been working really hard on our defence trying to get all the team together and holding them to 30 points tonight that’s how we won tonight,” said Shoup.

The team only lost three players to graduation last year, which should put them in good stead heading into the provincial championships which get underway later this week.

“We’ve been there before. We won three of the five games we played last year, so the girls know what to do,” said Shoup. “If we limit the other teams to 35-37 points we’ll do fine, but if we give up 40-42 points, it’s going to be close.”

The OFSAA ‘AA’ championships are taking place in Huntsville from Nov. 23-25.

Standing left to right: Murray Shoup, Kaylee Day, Aiesha Roy, Thalia Guardado, Sylvie Strong, Abigail Lea, Ally Blackadder, and Kayza Massey. Front row left to right: Michelle Ayotte, Hadeza Ismaila, and Navneet Sandhu. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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