Ban­ner year for Galt Hoop­sters

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Sher­brooke, Len­noxville

The mem­bers of Galt’s stel­lar se­nior bas­ket­ball team are (Front L to R.): Myriam Elkas, Han­nah Horni­brook, Char­lene Gra­ham, Glen Faucher, Sarah Poudrier, Clau­dia “Magic” Gagnon, Marissa Ge­nier and (Back l. to r.): Vanessa Stevens, Lindsay Moore, Rosalie Wub­bolts, Ash­ley Wright, Jacki Lum­ley, Sab­rina Messier-Dorey, Cort­ney Burn­ham and Ha­ley Pinkston.

Galt’sse­nior girls bas­ket­ball team has just fin­ished up a re­mark­able sea­son. They won the East­ern Town­ships In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence (ETIAC) reg­u­lar sea­son (8 wins, 0 losses) and the ETIAC play­offs. “We had tough bat­tles against Stanstead in the semi-fi­nal and BCS in the fi­nal (both games were on the same day) but came out on top due to an ex­cel­lent de­fense per­for­mance in both games,” com­mented coach Glen Faucher. Next, the team won the MacLeod Pro­vin­cial Tour­na­ment for only the third time in school his­tory (43 years); the former wins were in 1974 and 1990. Galt beat BCS in the quar­ter fi­nal 41-28, the host Howard S. Billings Blaz­ers 54-47 in the semi-fi­nal, and beat the Que­bec High School Blaz­ers 63-59 in an epic come-from-be­hind bat­tle. The team was be­hind Que­bec by 7 points at half­time. QHS in­creased their lead by 12 points mid­way through the 3rd quar­ter. En­ter March Magic. “Over the next four min­utes we went on an un­be­liev­able 20-4 run to take the lead. My point guard, Clau­dia Gagnon, scored 15 of those 18 points by hit­ting five-straight 3-point bombs. Five 3-point­ers in a row! The crowd was go­ing crazy and the gym was a mad­house. The best part? Clau­dia’s fa­ther and her 80-year-old grand­mother, two loved ones she rarely gets to see be­cause they live in Mon­treal, were both there watch­ing her shine. Af­ter the game, Clau­dia’s grand­mother told her that, be­cause it wasn’t look­ing so good in the third quar­ter, she said a prayer! I was so proud of her; Clau­dia’s a player with a heart of gold and she de­served the shin­ing moment,” said Mr. Faucher.

In the RSEQ league, the big­gest high­light of the sea­son came on March 14th when Galt hosted Col­lege Sacre Coeur in the fi­nal regu-

lar sea­son game. The last time the teams met was on Jan­uary 17th at CSC and Galt lost by 26 points. “It was our worst loss of the year. This time, on March 14th, we won by 21...an in­cred­i­ble feat! I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a big­ger change in score against the same team in back-to-back games,” said the coach. “We fin­ished the sea­son in fourth place in the reg­u­lar sea­son of the 6-team RSEQ re­gional league. We lost 74-55 to the Tan­dem/Boisé Vi­cas of Vic­to­ri­av­ille in the semi-fi­nal. They av­er­aged 24 points against all year and no team scored more than 39 points on them all year...we scored 55!...a mo­ral vic­tory! We then up­set the #3 Col­lege Sacre Coeur team 61-48 to earn the bronze medal.”

The teams two cap­tains, Sarah Poudrier and Char­lene Gra­ham, led the team in scor­ing and re­bounds and will both play for the Cham­plain Cougars next year.

The proud coach con­tin­ued: “This year was truly spe­cial. I think this year was so in­cred­i­ble be­cause it wasn’t per­fect. We had a few ob­sta­cles to over­come...and we did.

“It’s easy to win with the best team. It’s easy to win when ev­ery­one gets along. It’s easy to win when you have loads of tal­ent. I’ve won like that be­fore. But this year was dif­fer­ent. We had a very young team (only two play­ers in Level 5). The girls had a new coach (that’s never easy) and I had a new team (that’s never easy ei­ther). We had a tough time get­ting started (some in-fight­ing, peo­ple not get­ting along early in the sea­son, etc), which we took care of in the sec­ond week of the sea­son with a 45-minute meet­ing (speech) about life. I re­mem­ber say­ing, “Any strug­gles we go through this year will only make our suc­cesses feel that much greater.” In hind­sight that low was per­haps the moment that helped make us cham­pi­ons at the end of the sea­son. It was where we started on the right path. I give the girls all the credit. They turned it around right away. They for­got about their own wants and needs and bought to­tally into the con­cept of “team”. And we never looked back... “We worked hard, over­came ob­sta­cles, tried our best men­tally and phys­i­cally, spent lots of time to­gether off the court (pan­cake team break­fasts and team meals at my house with my fam­ily, cheer­ing on the Cham­plain Cougars bas­ket­ball teams to­gether, and team meals at restau­rants). We devel­oped a strong team chem­istry, devel­oped our in­di­vid­ual skills, devel­oped our team play, devel­oped an iden­tity (tough de­fense and tough over­all) and ended up with an amaz­ing sea­son and a life­time of mem­o­ries. “I am so proud of my team. They’re a great group of kids. Wins and losses are im­por­tant but they’re only a small part of our success this year. I tried my best to teach them a lot about bas­ket­ball and a lit­tle bit about life and they taught me just as much or more.”

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