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Spartans News

SG Basketball: Rounding into Form

By Erik Van Dyke
“That was the best team basketball I’ve ever seen you guys play.” – Mr. Andrew Blair, head minor official, giving his thoughts to me after the game.
And he was not wrong. Because not only were we going up against a fast, well-coached Triolet team hellbent on revenge (we’d beaten them 10 days earlier), but Trio full-court presses every second of every game, and we were going to be without our point guard (as Melissa was out with a concussion). Nothing is harder in girls’ basketball than bringing up the ball vs pressure without a true dribbler. Not only is it difficult, it can be demoralizing. I’m not gonna lie, I was concerned coming into this game.
But this team has come a loooong way these past three weeks. From the Salesien barnburner, to the progress we made at the MIS, to the grit and guts we showed at the BCS tournament (remember? 6 games in 28 hours?!), these players have gotten used to tight games, digging deep, responding to pressure, and working as a unit on both ends of the floor. Players are understanding their roles better and buying into them and playing with more confidence and less hesitation. We’re getting closer and closer to the ultimate goal, which is when the whole becomes better than the sum of the parts.
So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised with how well we played in this one, how efficient, how purposeful, how together:
  • how intensely locked-in and courageous Camryn was bringing up the ball vs constant in-your-face full court man pressure, only two turnovers the entire game, a truly inspiring effort;
  • how well Halle responded to being inserted into the starting lineup, not only exploding for 8 points in the first quarter but playing her most disruptive defence of the season;
  • how savvy Hayley has become on defence (critical rotations) and how much more confident on offence (purposeful post moves and more in-rhythm jumpers);
  • how all-around dominant Player Of The Game Maddie Lippmann was, putting together one of the most impressive statlines of the season (16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks);
  • and, most importantly, how every single player is contributing to our philosophy, especially on defence, where we are really starting to look like a dangerous team to play against, with all five on the floor working together, applying pressure, deflecting passes, hounding our opponents, dictating what happens, five moving parts working as one.
I opened this writeup with a quote from Mr. Blair, who witnessed the game from the scorer’s table. I’ll finish with another quote, but this one from a Triolet parent who had come to watch her daughter play against us, a Triolet parent who also happens to be a basketball referee who has reffed us before (so she knows her basketball), and who ran into Coach Wolfe a few days after the game (which ended 38-23 for us) and told her, “I was so impressed with your team. Your girls work so hard and so together and so smart. Everyone is a part of what you do, not just a couple of players who do everything, but everybody. I love your team.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
- Coach Van Dyke
The year so far…
Overall Record15 wins 10 losses
RSEQ League Play:  5 wins  3 losses
Points for per game32.7     Points allowed per game24.9
CAIS Semi-finalists