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Spartans News

SG Basketball: All This and Triolet Too

By Erik Van Dyke
Friday, 12:00 noon, first game of the BCS Invitational Tournament vs The Study. Opening jump ball, the ref lobs it up, and we’re under way.
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Saturday, 4:00 pm, the very next day, the final horn blows, signaling the end of our last game, and the end of the tournament.
In between that Friday jump ball and that final buzzer on Saturday, your Stanstead Spartans played – get this, I kid you not – six basketball games! You read that correctly. Six games in 28 hours! I’ve been coaching for 31 years, and that, friends and neighbours, is the #1 blue ribbon undisputed winner as the toughest stretch of basketball I’ve ever experienced.
And your Spartans passed the test. With flying colours.
In that Friday opener, the Red & White blitzed The Study with a 10-0 run to start the game, re-blitzed them 15-0 to start the second half, and cruised to a 42-17 win behind a balanced attack – 11 different scorers! – directed by Melissa (9 points) and Camryn (8 points) and a solid defensive rebounding effort led by Maddie and Clara. Two other things that stuck out for me: 1) Edythe regularly sprinting back on defence to stop fast breaks, and 2) Sarah fearlessly taking the open shot from the top of the key until she finally made it – if at first you don’t succeed, be brave!
Game 2 vs St George’s was tougher sledding offensively, as Camryn and Halle were the only guards able to crack the scoresheet, and that mainly in transition – great fast break releasing and finishing by both of them – as the St. George’s zone did a good job covering the perimeter. But extending to the guards means leaving space inside, and our post players took full advantage, combining for 17 points on a series of Edythe jumpers, Hayley inbounds plays, and sneaky-Maddie, in-close finishing. But to be honest, this game belonged to our defence. St-George’s has offensive skill, but your Spartans were in lockdown all game. Hands were active, rotations were much improved – Julia and Zoey combined for four steals – and the overall energy was high. 29-12 final score – only 12 points allowed! – and Friday’s tournament games were finished.
But the day wasn’t over yet, kids, oh no! Cuz after catching supper at BCS, your Spartans, instead of going home like a normal, sensible team, hit the highway to Triolet for a full RSEQ league game with an 8:00 pm (!) start time. Who does that?!
And this is where the team showed its heart. They had every reason to be lethargic, tired, unmotivated. But instead, they dug deep. Melissa’s (12 points) press-break passes and offensive rebounding – brilliant. Val and Hayley (11 points) and Camryn (9 points) catching those Melissa bullets – impressive. Halle’s fast break finishing – tough. Hayley’s low-high skip pass to Camryn – shrewd. Val consistently finding Maddie (8 points, 11 rebounds, and high on adrenaline!) below the zone – sweet. Six(!) deflections on one play – amazing. Hitting free throws during the cowbell – love it. Julia’s full somersault over a Trio defender – love it even more. And Val’s rainbow three-pointer in front of her dad who was watching her play for the very first time? – like a Disney movie. Final score 52-20, this epic Friday is finally done, the bus rolls onto SC campus at 10:30 pm…
…and the girls are back on the bus at 7:30 am Saturday morning. Yeah, Spartans are kinda cray-cray.
Tournament round-robin game #3 vs Trafalgar, 9:00 am tipoff. And you can tell right away our legs are heavy. Trouble breaking the press. Bad hands. No zip. Trouble finishing. But when you shut a team out for the first 10 minutes of the game – yay defence! – your margin of error is pretty big, and we slowly but surely started scoring, especially Maddie (11 points), Melissa (8 points) and Hayley (8 points), on our way to a 19-0 run to start the game and a 38-15 victory.
Which earned us a whole one-hour break before our 11:00 game vs Sacred Heart’s ‘B’ team. Fortunately, the short rest did not hurt us, as the Saints’ second team was overmatched in this one, and we dominated from the get-go. Highlights include 1) Sarah finding Edythe in the high post, then Edythe hitting a cutting Majo for a sweet layup, 2) Edythe’s hi-lo pass to Clara for a short bank shot, 3) Halle and Zoey combining to go five-for-five on the game, 4) Nya splashing a long jumper from the top of the key, and 5) Sarah dependably bringing up the ball in the second half. Ultimately, a comfortable 38-10 victory, and we had earned a trip to the final.
Where our opponent is the reigning CAIS champions from ECS, who boast not one, not two, but THREE absolute studs, an elite point guard, an elite post player and a third blue-chipper who is a combo of the two. Add in two more athletes to round out their starting lineup, and they are just so, so hard to stop. From the opening tip, every possession takes everything we have to force a bad shot, to grab a defensive rebound, to keep the monster at bay. And for three quarters, somehow, in their sixth game in 28 hours, the girls dig even deeper. Camryn, Maddie, Val, Hayley and Melissa put on a defensive show that I will not soon forget. Denying. Chasing. Rotating. Rebounding. Fighting for loose balls. Expending hee-yuge amounts of energy. And with ten minutes left your Spartans, as huge underdogs, were only down 26-23. But we couldn’t keep it up. We’d played perfect defensive basketball up to that point, but the ‘6/28’ finally caught up to us, and ECS finished the game on a 10-2 run to take the title.
But what an effort. Yes, we’ve had prettier games this year. But none grittier.
What a final game. And what a stretch of basketball. Every single player should look back on ‘6/28’ and be proud of how we came through it. It wasn’t easy, but worthwhile things rarely are.

- Coach Van Dyke
The year so far…
Overall Record14 wins 10 losses      
RSEQ League Play:  4 wins  3 losses
Points for per game32.6     Points allowed per game25.0
CAIS Semifinalists