Ava Green and St. George’s School were upset in the first round of the playoffs after going perfect in the regular season. The multi-sport star took the loss in stride and is ready to come back next year. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)
Bounces went both ways for Kahnawake’s talented hoopsters this week as the GMAA playoffs wrapped.
Lakeside Academy came up just short in the final game Thursday night against St. George’s School 39-19 after going on an incredible run Monday and Tuesday that saw the fifth seed Div 4 Juvenile Lancers upset Trafalgar School 31-28, and then knock off first place Beaconsfield at home 36-31 Tuesday.
“We went into the game nervous because we knew they were the top team, but getting the victory makes us more confident for the finals,” said Drea Norton, one of three Kahnawake ballers on the team along with Tyra Dearhouse and Alexandra Ross.
All three played important minutes throughout both games despite their youth and the importance of Tuesday’s game in particular. Norton and Ross are in Grade 10, and Dearhouse is a Grade 8-er playing with girls as old as Grade 11.
“They were in in the fourth quarter. I didn’t have to play them at all, but I started the fourth quarter with them because they’ve become that vital,” said coach Amanda Zito.
Dearhouse was a force on the glass, pulling down both offensive and defensive boards throughout the game while frustrating the Beaconsfield shooters.
Ross also nailed a slick mid-range jumper in the third quarter when her Beaconsfield defender foolishly left her open.
“She said, ‘one of them’s bound to go in.’ We call it her rainbow shot,” said Zito.
Even with the loss in the championship game, Lakeside looks to be a force moving forward with a solid core of young players.
“We’ve got a good base that’s happening here,” said Zito.
It was the opposite story for St. George’s Bantam girls’ team Monday and local guard Ava Green, whose team ended the season top of the table and undefeated.
Up against fourth place Westmount High School, St. George’s had every chance to take control of the game, particularly in the fourth quarter, but balls rimmed out on a number of occasions for St. George’s, while Westmount’s ballers hit their shots.
After a frustrating fourth quarter full of fouls, Westmount won 26-23.
“I think it got to our head that we were winning all season,” said Green, who also plays hockey, futsal, soccer, badminton and flag football. “We weren’t overconfident, more nervous about the playoffs. I’m excited about next year. Every team can get better.”
Kuper Academy’s Juvenile girls team were forced to settle for a second-place finish Monday night in Div 3 action.
After Kuper’s dramatic win over The Study in the semi-finals last week, the Kodiaks knew they were in for a tough contest against St. Thomas in the finals.
The Knights jumped on Kuper early and were up 22-8 at half. The score line was a little misleading, as Kuper played decent in the opening two quarters.
“It was actually a good game, and we fought hard, but the baskets weren’t going in,” said forward Gracie Diabo. “After half, I felt as we were just not trying as hard as we could.”
St. Thomas kept racking up points and cruised to a 45-16 championship win.
“St. Thomas played really well, outplayed us,” said Grade 11 Kodiak Melissa Stacey. “And they tired us out, but it was a well-fought game and great overall season.”
Stacey is the lone Kahnawake graduating player on the team with Diabo and Sylvia White in Grade 10, and up-and-coming star Taya Jacobs in Grade 9.
White had no complaints about the season, which will be her final on the hard court, as she switches from sneakers to skates and will play hockey next year.
“We had a really good season this year despite being a very young team in the Juvenile division,” she said.