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Spartans News

SG Basketball: History Made at MacLeod Tournament

By Erik Van Dyke
Your Stanstead Spartans made history last week at the MacLeod Provincial Tournament held at
Centennial Regional High School in Greenfield Park, Quebec. Here’s how.

Game #1 vs Chateauguay Regional High School
Our warmup was fantastic, and we came out flying. Before CVR knew what hit them, it was 13-2 for the good gals on a series of defensive steals, runouts and pretty fast-break finishes. In fact, it looked for all intents and purposes like your Spartans were going to cruise to the finish line in this one.
But oh how wrong we were. Because at 19-7 in the second quarter, the Other Spartans (yes, Chateauguay has the same nickname as we do) started kicking the Red & White around the court. Were they rough? Yes. A little over-aggressive? Perhaps. Did the refs miss a few flagrant calls out there? Quite possibly. But, all that notwithstanding, the two most critical game-changing factors were 1) we couldn’t score, like, from anywhere – sometimes nothing falls, and 2) CVR turned the intensity knob up to 11. We weren’t dogging it out there, but to our opponents’ credit they started beating us to loose balls, and their two post players were absolute Godzillas on the boards. In fact, over a 5-minute stretch they went on 12-0 run to undo everything we’d done and tie the game. Thankfully, with 30 seconds left in the half Sara splashed a three to stop the bleeding, but that 22-19 halftime lead felt anything but safe. Chateauguay definitely had our full attention.
So we came out in the second half matching their intensity, and from that point on it was a war. If we could have hit the broad side of a barn we would have been okay, but we were ice cold (15 for 71 from the field for the game), so the game turned into a battle of hustle plays. Every rebound was like a fight to the death, scratching and clawing. It wasn’t pretty, but hooboy was it compelling.
And close. 27-26 for us with 5 min left. Then 31-28. 2 min to go. 35-32. One minute left. Melissa converts two free throws. 30 seconds left. But then a CVR guard cleanly beats us baseline for an uncontested layup BUT WAIT there’s Hayley Wolfe coming over to help and in the Play Of The Game she blocks the shot AND steals the ball at the same time to effectively ice the game! What a play!
37-32 final score, the rest of the day off to ice our bruises, and a date the next morning with the top D3 team on the South Shore. It ain’t gettin’ any easier I tell ya…
Semifinal vs Centennial Regional High School
Centennial came in confident. How do I know? Before the game, one of their players told one of our players, and I quote, “You’re losing this game.” Now, there are a few things wrong with that move, but here’s the most relevant one, i.e. trash-talking Melissa Kakayuk before a game is a baaaaddd idea, as she proceeded to lead her team to one of the most complete, satisfying wins of the season. To wit:
  • our zone offense ball movement was as good as it’s ever been, creating quality looks for Henni inside (15 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals) or open looks for Sara (17 points, 7 steals) on the perimeter;
  • we dominated on the boards, including the best offensive rebounding performance of the season, with 19 offensive rebounds! That’s 19 extra possessions!
  • we were waaayy faster to loose balls than the Chargers were, and even when they got possession, we were amazing at getting in there and tying up the ball for jump balls;
  • Melissa was a maestro leading the offense in the halfcourt but especially in transition, where she created endless opportunities for her teammates to score early (all this while also locking down Centennial’s second most dangerous player and holding her to 5 measly points);
  • and finally, Bernie, in limited minutes, snatched 9 rebounds and scored two clutch baskets down the stretch.
But even with all this, Centennial’s #6 (18 points) kept her team in the game with some insane long – and I mean LONG – range bombing (like 6 feet behind the arc), so that we never really felt comfortable until that final horn blew and the scoreboard read 51-39 for us. We’d done it! We’d upset the #1-ranked team.
MacLeod Final vs John Rennie High School
Here we were. The Promised Land. The Holy Grail. The final of the longest running tournament (70 years!) in Quebec. Up against another confident D3 team, this one from Montreal, featuring arguably the best player in the tournament, #4, a big, fast, strong guard with a good handle and an attacking mentality.
We considered playing triangle and two, but decided against it, instead going with our normal defense, but with a plan to camrynize #4. But this was a different form of camrynizing, as she was too good for any one player to stop. Instead, Camryn needed her teammates to back her up at all times (in effect, over-help), and in a textbook display of team help defense vs an elite player, we held a frustrated #4 to 3 baskets and 4 made free throws for the entire game, well below her tournament average.
Offensively, we consistently got good looks against their 2-3 zone, with either Hayley drawing a crowd at the high post or Siena spreading the D out as a fourth shooter, so we ended up with quite a few impressive statlines, i.e. Melissa (12 points, 11 rebounds), Henni (11 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks), Siena (11 points, 7 rebounds) and Sara (16 points, 4 rebounds).
But my favourite play is probably the incomparable Halle Khanna, pulling out the Stepback smack dab in the middle of the biggest game of the year. UK Drill, indeed!
But just like the Centennial game, despite doing so many things right, we couldn’t quite pull away, this time due to their #2 coming out of nowhere and hitting every shot she looked at. That is, until, with 2 minutes left, Sara calmly rose up and nailed the Dagger Three that finally put the game out of reach. 54-40 final score, and your Stanstead Spartans were the 2023 MacLeod Champions!
Some Tournament Statistics
(all stats courtesy of Maddie “The Accountant” Lippmann)
Rebounds: Henni (35), Melissa (27), Bernie (20)                       
Steals: Sara (14) Camryn (11)  Melissa (10)
Points: Sara (43), Henni (33), Melissa (26)
Assists: Melissa (11), Camryn (4)
I mentioned “history” at the top of this writeup. From 1953-2000, Stanstead College only qualified for the MacLeod Provincial Tournament three times, and in those three years, lost every tournament game they played. In 2001 SC won a game for the first time, and ultimately won the consolation banner. In 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2010 SC made the finals, but lost each one, earning silver medals each time. Finally, in 2017, Stanstead broke through, winning the championship banner for the first time ever with an epic fourth quarter
comeback, and then successfully defended their title the next two years.
The 2023 edition of Spartans basketball – you girls – just added YOUR names to the history books. Only the fourth Stanstead team EVER to win the MacLeod. Welcome to history, ladies.
The year so far…(and what a year!)
Overall Record24 wins 9 losses      
RSEQ League Play:  8 wins  1 loss
Points for per game41.6     Points allowed per game27.0
Mtl Independent Schools Tournament Silver Medalists
Stanstead Invitational Tournament CHAMPIONS
Bailly Tournament CHAMPIONS