Before It’s Too Late

By Simonetta Gaumond
Grade 12

I know what you’re thinking: “Ugh! Not another speech about how great Stanstead is…” Well, there’s a reason why so many people, given the opportunity to speak, have chosen to speak about the College. Although you might not realize it right now, these are among the best years of your life. There are a million things I could say about the College. I could talk about the memories we make here or about the privileged education we are fortunate enough to have, but I won’t. What I’m going to talk about today are the endless opportunities that arise from attending Stanstead College.

There are so many opportunities at our fingertips as students here. Not only do we have the chance to participate in events locally but Stanstead offers the chance to travel to all sorts of destination across the globe! I encourage you to participate in humanitarian trips and student exchanges because, trust me, it will change your life. Through your travels, you will actually find aspects of yourself that you did not even know existed. You will be able to tap into cultures and traditions that may mirror your own or may be a complete and utter contrast to what you have been accustomed to in your life. Regardless, we must all, at some point in our life, get out of our comfort zone and seek the unknown.

In my Grade 10 year, I transferred to Stanstead after the school year had already begun. And believe me, I did not want to come here whatsoever. Back home, I had a very easy and stress-free life. I was surrounded by my family, my friends, and just in my overall comfort zone. One day, in late October, I got a call from my parents saying that I had to pack up my whole life because I was moving to Stanstead in two days. So you can imagine how this came as a surprise.

Once I arrived at Stanstead, little did I know my whole world was about to change. I had to adapt to a new life: new friends, new teachers, new surroundings and basically a new way of living. However, adapting to this new life was not at all as challenging as I had anticipated. The people here were so accepting and friendly and the teachers were always so supportive and eager to help. Stanstead started to feel more like a home than I could have ever imagined. I decided to let go of all the negativity I had built up inside and chose to indulge myself in the Stanstead College experience. From that day on, I told myself that I would take part in all the opportunities offered that I possibly could. That started with making friends from countries that were foreign to me such as Mexico, Japan, Australia and Germany and ended up with my first big trip by myself.

In March of my first year, I travelled to the other side of the world to be a part of a student exchange. I travelled to Melbourne, Australia, where I was taken in by an amazing family who treated me as if I were their own. Throughout my time spent abroad, I was fortunate enough to spend time both in school and on holiday. The Hearn family and Billanook High School really made my stay there incredible. During my two months here, I not only attended classes and connected with new friends, but I also had the chance to have a road trip all the way to Sydney and take part in a school trip! And let me tell you, this was no ordinary school outing. During this week-long adventure, the mornings were devoted to surfing some great waves at a national park and the afternoons were for hiking various mountains and taking in some breathtaking views. It was truly magical.

None of my trip would have been possible without the help of Ms. Wilkinson, who arranged my whole exchange and all of my teachers, especially Ms. Kirby, who made sure I was able to get caught up on the work that was being done back home. This experience truly changed my life and I highly recommend it to all of you.

However, the purpose of this speech is not solely to entice you to take part in a student exchange and travel. The purpose is to invite each and every one of you to partake in the most opportunities possible and to take advantage of your time here. Because time is running out, and we don’t have a year left to experience Stanstead College anymore. In fact, there is only one term left. So let’s make the best out of it, because, after all, the only obstacle in your way is you.

SG Basketball: Saluting Our Seniors

There are only two seniors this year, but they are as “senior” as you can get. They both joined the Senior Team way back in Grade 9. They’ve both played four – FOUR(!) – years of senior basketball. They’ve both given real blood, real sweat and real tears to this program. They suffered heartbreaking losses in the early years and thrilling victories in the later years. And together they’ve made history as the captains of the most successful dynasty in Stanstead basketball history. They are elite players, they are leaders, and they are teammates for life.

Our first Senior is simply the best point guard in Stanstead basketball history. When she joined the program four years ago, she was already an elite dribbler and defender, but that was not enough for her. She worked constantly to get better, and over her career improved her shooting, her poise, her vision and her passing so much that she is now
almost un-guardable. She is a one-woman press-break, she is a warrior, and as captain she always, ALWAYS, sets the example for her teammates. She’s won almost everything there is to win in high school basketball, individually and as a team member, and still, at the end of the day, she is the one counting uniforms and hauling bags, making sure that the program she loves, HER program, is always running the right way. From Tokyo, Japan, #7 in the program, but #1 in our hearts, Rina Takahashi!

Our final senior is that rare Spartan who has played six years of basketball at Stanstead College. A true basketball lifer. From a Grade 7 bantam with Miss Hessian, to Mrs. Wolfe’s junior team, to playing senior for her dad the last four years. On the court nobody has a higher basketball IQ, and there’s nothing she can’t do – score, defend, rebound, block shots, dribble, make steals, shoot threes – she has the ultimate skillset. And off the court she has become the dynamic embodiment of senior girls basketball. When she walks into a gym, opposing players know she’s a baller. She’s the emotional leader that provides the fun, the music, and the “cool.” She’s the one who wears her heart on her sleeve, she’s the Captain With The Attitude and she’s got your back. Homegrown right here in Stanstead, Quebec, don’t even think about messing with one of her teammates, #14, Chloe Van Dyke!

Thank you, Rina and Chloe! We will all miss you!

Athlete of the Week: Tyler Carruthers

Tyler Carruthers has demonstrated great leadership and consistency in his play throughout the junior boys basketball season, and often against very challenging competition. He never gets down; in fact, this Grade 10 student from Stanstead has used adversity as fuel to get better. His court awareness has improved significantly, he has learned how to distribute the ball effectively, he is more courageous and confident attacking the basket and finishing, and he has become a prolific rebounder. The improvement in his overall approach to the game has been a source of motivation for his teammates both on and off the court. In fact, his play at the Davis-Dunn Provincial Tournament last week at Centennial Regional High School was a perfect testament to his progress this season, as his efforts were recognized by being named a Tournament All-Star. Congratulations, Tyler!

SG Basketball @ MacLeod: History Remade

The Stanstead Spartans added another page to the history books this past weekend at the MacLeod Provincials, held at Howard S. Billings High School in Chateauguay.

Here’s how:

Round-Robin Game #1 vs Massey-Vanier Regional High School
Not a great start to the tournament. Defensively we did not disrupt Massey much at all in the first half. We produced very few deflections and steals and rotated slowly enough to allow countless open jumpers from the perimeter. Without steals on defense, our offense bogged down and became too dependent on jump shots, jump shots that weren’t even close. All this made for a slow-paced game with no fast breaks, just the tempo the Vikings wanted. In fact, if not for Mackenzy’s free throw shooting (6 for 6 for the game!) and Emily hitting a three just before half, the halftime score would have been much closer than 23-11 for us.

But the Red & White woke up in the 3rd quarter, spurred by Player Of The Game Alex Smith coming off the bench to lift her team on offense (8 pts on only 7 shots) AND on defense (3 deflections and a steal). In fact, with Alex providing the spark, your Spartans clamped down and allowed 0 points for the entire third quarter. 14-0 run, 37-11 lead going into the fourth, and the outcome was basically decided. Final score 40-20, and we had taken our first step to defending our 2017 MacLeod Championship.

Round-Robin Game #2 vs Centennial Regional High School
Apparently we learned a lesson from the first game, as the girls came out flying in this one, with countless deflections and steals and run-outs and fast breaks and sweet finishes (especially Rina) at top speed. When the dust cleared we had opened the game on a dominating, frenzied 15-2 run, and you could see it take the fight out of our opponents. With slumped shoulders and bewildered expressions the Chargers put up little resistance the rest of the game. Another fast-paced 13-0 run in the second quarter, a 34-10 halftime lead, a final score of 46-22, a 2-0 round-robin record, and Stanstead had (probably) punched their ticket to the Finals.

Round-robin Game #3 vs Notre-Dame-des-Lourdes
Very rarely has one Spartan had to put the team on her back this season. We are blessed with so many great basketball players that our success is almost always a product of intelligent team play, unselfishness, inspired vision and passing, and girls working together to succeed. But this game against NDL (the team we beat last year in the finals) was different. Our defense was okay, but offensively we were horrendous. Atrocious. U-G-L-Y. For the entire first half it was as if we’d never seen a man defense before. We couldn’t complete a pass. Or drive. Or catch. Or make the simplest decision. It was a hot mess of unforced turnovers – 12 in the 1st half alone! After 7 minutes the score was 5-2. For NDL. It was the worst we’d played all year.

But Player Of The Game Mackenzy St-Pierre single-handedly kept us in the game. Four times in a row she fought for a defensive rebound, dribbled for daylight, went coast to coast, and finished with a ridiculous euro-step finger-roll. Four. Times. In a row. Eight points. And on top of that she went 4 for 4 from the line. Thanks to this herculean second quarter effort, we made it to halftime with a 24-13 lead. And in the third quarter, for whatever reason, your Spartans became your Spartans again, and rolled from there. Guard penetration, finishing inside, transition buckets, post moves, inbound plays, ball movement. Wherever it all went, it all returned in the third quarter, and sparked a 19-4 run that iced the game. 52-24 final score, and we had earned a berth in the MacLeod Finals for the second straight year.

Macleod Finals vs Massey-Vanier Regional High School
The 4-team round-robin format of this year’s tourney meant we had to play MVR again. I hate playing a team twice in the same tournament. It’s always a psychological advantage to the team that lost the first time. They’re hungry for revenge, while the winner can’t help but be complacent.

But colour me impressed, as the girls had their best warmup of the tournament and came out with serious intensity. The defense was aggressive and active, Kenz and Player Of The Game Emily Willis (4 threes!) were on fire, we were running, we were rebounding, we were doing it all. In the most important game of the season, we had brought our best.

However, Massey refused to fold. No matter how good our defense was, no matter how many turnovers we forced, they kept hitting contested shot after contested shot. It was impressive. It was remarkable. And it was scary. It started to feel like we had to make a steal every defensive possession, because if we let them shoot, it was going in. Proof? At halftime we had 5 defensive rebounds and had allowed one offensive rebound. That means the Vikings had missed 6 shots the entire first half! That, friends and neighbours, is crazy.

But ultimately MVR’s hot shooting could not overcome a Stanstead team at the top of their game. In one game-deciding 8 minute stretch that spanned the second and third quarters, your Spartans went on an absurd 28-2 run, turning a 15-13 nail-biter into a 43-15 rout. And although Massey never gave up and outscored us 16-11 the rest of the way, it was never in doubt after that dominant run. A 54-31 final score, and Stanstead College had captured the MacLeod Provincial Championship for the second time in the history of the tournament. Congrats, ladies! History made. Again.


Reflections and Highlights

  • While lacking the drama of the 2017 championship, this year’s performance is notable for its dominance. Despite playing inconsistently, the average margin of victory was an astonishing 24 pts.
  • Speaking of dominance, The Streak now stands at 29 games. The previous best consecutive wins streak was 20 by the Megan Lill-led 2001-2002 team.
  • Against NDL Maya was whistled for a foul on a collision in the key (and suffered a concussion). For the record, that was not a foul, it was a great defensive play that showed off Maya’s quickness and athletic instincts.
  • The intelligence on this team continues to inspire me. During the first game, MVR switched to a 1-3-1 zone. Before I could open my mouth from the bench, the players had already recognized it and set up accordingly. Then Rina zipped it to Kenz down low who immediately found Alex on the other low block for a textbook two points, all without a timeout or even a word from the coaches.
  • Another example of high basketball IQ; Chloe realizing (before the coaches do) that she has a mismatch on a shorter player, and suggesting in a timeout that she play low post to exploit it. Twenty seconds later Rosy feeds her in the post, spin, baby hook, 2 pts.

Some Tournament Statistics (all stats courtesy of Hayley Wolfe)

Steals: Rina (13), Kenz (12), Emily (7) Assists: Rina (15), Chloe (12), Emily (7)
Points: Kenz (54), Emily (46), Alyssa (31) Rebounds: Chloe (29), Kenz (26), Alyssa (18)
Deflections: 49 for the team (nice!) Team Free Throw Shooting: 30 for 45 (not too shabby!)

Some random tournament highlights/memories

  • M.K. scoring that tough bucket on the inside against NDL with her parents watching.
  • Rosy hitting consecutive jump shots vs NDL.
  • Chloe finding M.K. on a perfect lo-hi pass, then M.K. returning the favor with a hi-lo pass to Chloe.
  • Our last High School Musical team singalong, “Gotta Go My Own Way” on the bus ride down.
  • Chloe, Rina and Kenz hugging together, in tears, after The Finals. I love it when players care.

One game left… the season’s almost over….

– Coach Van Dyke

Overall Record: 36 wins 4 losses
RSEQ League Play: 8 wins 2 losses
ETIAC League Play: 4 wins 0 losses
Points for per game: 45.1 Points allowed per game: 22.9
CAIS Silver Medalists
Stanstead Invitational Tournament CHAMPIONS
BCS Invitational CHAMPIONS
BAILLY Small Schools Provincial CHAMPIONS

JB Basketball: Parting Shots

The junior boys played one last tournament in Montreal, the Davis. There were six boys teams in the tournament this year vying for the provincial banner.

Our opening game against a good team from Heritage HS. Man for man, we were slightly out-matched, but it made for a great first game. Our starting five, Tyler, Ba Nam, Big Justin, Esteban and Leo, played really well in the opening minutes and secured a good lead at the end of the first quarter. HHS came back in the second quarter, but at half, SC was up by a point. Second half action favoured the extra skill by HHS as they began to pull away steadily through the third quarter while SC had no fire power to respond with. At the final buzzer, SC 25 HHS 45.

Next game was a match-up with the host team, Centennial Regional. This group has been together for three years and has not lost a game yet! As it happens, this was a rematch of our first outing of the year. I’m not sure we put up more points, but the boys sure played a better game. Final score was Centennial lots to our 17 points!

So that put SC in third place in our pool, waiting for the result from the other pool… BCS… again. Well, this ended the season well as a friendly game (a loss) where everyone played a bunch of minutes, scoring some great baskets, and generally working hard. It was really fun to watch the Grade 10s play together for the last couple of minutes of the game.

Tournament all star: Tyler Carruthers.

Great season. Well done all!

– Coach Blair

Athlete of the Week: Alexis Daniel

Alexis Daniel has been a quiet leader and team player on the prep boys hockey team all season long. Despite being one of the youngest members of the team, Alexis has consistently played with grit and tremendous competition versus older guys. The Grade 9 student from Dieppe, NB has progressed well on ice throughout the season and notably been playing with much more confidence of late. In particular, Alexis was a notable presence every shift during the Graham Neil Invitational Tournament held last week at the Pat Burns Arena. Alexis scored a few key goals and raised his game, while being a very positive and hard working player. As a result, he was named to the All-Tournament team. He is a proud Spartan, friend to all and a positive young man.