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Spartans News

SG Basketball: Back to MIST

By Erik Van Dyke
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from the first Montreal Independent Schools Tournament since 2020 – it is so good to be back!
Game scores first. We played three round-robin games on Friday, going 2-1 with a 34-4 win over West Island College, a 30-16 loss to King’s Edgehill School (Windsor, Nova Scotia) and a 33-32 win over Villa Maria. This put us in the championship bracket on Saturday, where our wins vs E.C.S. (33-23) and Sacred Heart (29-6) put us in the Finals, where we met KES again but lost 41-25.
Lot of good things happened in Game #1 vs WIC – Player Of The Game Sara’s 13 pts 7 rebs, Hayley’s 9 pts, Halle’s amazing hustle play to Bernie, and the defense shutting Les Voyageurs out(!) 15-0 in the 2nd half to ice the win – but the highlight was definitely Melissa joining the team at halftime, dressed to play after two weeks of limbo waiting to be medically cleared – big, BIG smiles all around!
Seeing our “Junior Battle” play (Coach Carter reference alert!) work perfectly for the first time this season made this old coach dance on the sidelines (don’t worry, my knee’s okay), I’m smiling now just thinking about it.
That first game vs KES was Big Girl Basketball, that’s for sure. King’s is fast and athletic and physically STRONG, but I’m legit proud of how we responded. We did not back down for a second, led by Player Of The Game Henni Kraushaar’s 8 pts and 12 rebs.
Losing Sara to a concussion in that King’s game was a big blow, but we’ve been dealing with so much injury and illness this season (from Siena to Maddie to Hayley to Mel to Val to Edythe to now Sara) that I KNOW players are going to step up and find a way – that’s what teammates are for.
We’ve played some tough teams lately – RNS, St. Stephen’s, KES – and we’ve taken our lumps (0-5 against them), but steel sharpens steel, and I like the intensity that we’re getting used to playing with.
Lemmetellya, that Villa barnburner wins this season’s Gillette Close Shave AwardTM. After going back and forth all game, we were up one with the ball and 9 sec to play. Timeout. Screen away for the inbounds. Works perfectly. They foul Mel. 6 sec left. Screen away again, but Villa deflects it…and steals it L…but Player Of The Game Henni (12 pts 11 rebs – a “double-double”) steals it right back! They foul again…2 sec left. All we have to do is inbound the ball forward from half and there’s no way we can lose, but we pass it sideways, Villa AGAIN steals it and heaves up a desperation shot from halfcourt, the buzzer goes while the ball is in the air…omigodit’sonline…and it rims out. Holy smokes. A few extra gray hairs now that’s for sure.
Kudos to Camryn, Gloria, Halle, Bernie, Siena and Emilia who took turns shutting down ECS’s two superstars #34 and #38 in the semis, allowing them only 10 and 7 pts respectively. This allowed Player Of The Game Melissa to focus on offense and lead the way with 12 pts, 6 rebs and 3 assists.
My favourite pressbreak hoop of the season? I’m glad you asked! Sacred Heart, Camryn inbounds to Melissa, who one-hand no-look(!) passes to Hayley in the middle, who turns and hits perfectly in stride a streaking Henni who swoops in from the left side, covers 25 feet in three massive Henni-strides, and finishes at university-level speed…bee-yoo-tiful.
The You Don’t See That Everyday Award goes to Melissa for her 4-pt play vs Sacred Heart.
"Pivot and rip it” after defensive rebounds…SO MUCH BETTER…I think we let our opponents reach in and tie up the ball only three times all tournament, AND we drew fouls at least twice.
Fun to watch Siena’s post-injury confidence growing, finishing in traffic, rebounding more (7 boards vs Villa!), and playing with an overall attacking mindset…speaking of confidence, I like Emilia’s defensive mindset, she’s starting to impose her will on the defensive end.
We’ve had issues with negative body language this season when losing, and in the Finals, when KES’s full court pressure was wreaking havoc on us and the wheels were falling off (13 pts allowed in a row), we could’ve lost our composure for good, slumped our shoulders, and gone out with a whimper. But we didn’t.
In fact, led by co-Player Of The Game Melissa’s pressbreaking and playmaking and co-Player Of The Game Henni’s finishing and rebounding, we outscored the Highlanders 12-7 the last 10 min.
Finishing that game with minds focused and heads high? My favourite moment of the weekend.
Fantastic tournament, ladies. You worked hard, you won with class, and you lost with honour. It was a privilege to drape those Silver Medals over your heads, and I can’t think of a better way to end the tournament than taking checkerboard photos with KES, as well as our bantams – who made us a tunnel!
Well done, Spartans. 
- Coaches VD & W
The season so far
Overall Record: 14 wins 8 losses
RSEQ League Play: 4 wins  0 losses
Points for per game:  37.5     Points allowed per game:  28.2
Mtl Independent Schools Tournament Silver Medalists
Stanstead Invitational Tournament CHAMPIONS