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SG Basketball @ MIST: Moving Forward

By Erik Van Dyke
This past weekend your Spartans travelled to the big city for the annual Montreal Independent Schools Tournament, always a highlight of the year. We were hoping to build upon the progress we made in our last league game vs Salesien, and build we did. We haven’t quite returned to our best form of the season (which was at CAIS last November), but we made real strides.
It started right away on the opening Friday of the tourney. In two eerily similar games, the girls came out flying versus first The Study (a 21-0 run to start the game) and then the host St-George’s (a 19-2 run to start the game). The key to both of these hot starts was something we hadn’t really seen since our return from Christmas vacation, i.e. a fast break. Sparked by a disruptive defence, we got out and ran successfully against both of our Friday opponents, which set the tone for a great vibe and a lot of good things done by a lot of different players.
The other impressive facet of these two games was our passing versus zone defence. Maddie was as slippery as an eel down low, and her teammates did a great job finding her behind the zone to the tune of 23 points in the paint over the two games. This kind of timing and vision bodes well for the season, as we will no doubt see a lot of zone going forward.
These two wins (33-11 vs TS and 42-13 vs StG) qualified us for the Championship Division on Saturday.
In our first game, we played superbly against a tough, motivated Sacred Heart squad. Our defence allowed nothing easy AND forced multiple turnovers, and offensively we took care of the ball and created good look after good look in both the halfcourt and in transition. But sometimes your opponent takes full advantage of their chances, while you squander your own. And that’s what led to this tough-to-take 31-33 loss. While the Saints were hitting threes and maximizing their opportunities, we missed one too many free throw, rebound putback and fast-break layup. But not for lack of trying. That was a hell of an effort, and the players should be proud of such a well-rounded performance.
This made our next game vs CAIS-champion(!) ECS a must-win to even give us a chance to advance to the final. And while we lost 30-34 in a crowd-loving classic, this one goes down as our gutsiest game of the season. Down 17-8 midway through the first half, with ECS threatening to fast break us out of the building,  your Spartans dug deeper than they had all season and scored 12 unanswered points against an elite opponent to flip the game. From that point on, it was an epic battle, with neither team giving an inch, and every point tough to come by. In fact, it was anybody’s match with two minutes left to play, but the ref’s whistle went against us and ECS scored the last 4 points of the game from the free throw line for the victory.  
Still, I could not have asked for more from these two days basketball-wise. Players are making individual improvements, girls are learning how to play with each other, and the product on the floor is getting tighter and more organized. If we keep learning and continue to get fitter, our ceiling will only get higher.
- Coach Van Dyke
The year so far…
Overall Record8 wins 9 losses
RSEQ League Play:  2 wins  3 losses
Points for per game30.9     Points allowed per game27.3
CAIS Semifinalists