Les­son learned for Huskies

North­west­ern looks to the fu­ture in se­nior girls hoops loss to St. Mike’s

The Beacon Herald - - SPORTS - CORY SMITH SPORTS ED­I­TOR BEA­CON HER­ALD

The learn­ing curve for North­west­ern’s se­nior girls bas­ket­ball team was al­ways go­ing to have some dips.

One of them came Wed­nes­day in a 48-15 loss to the more ex­pe­ri­enced St. Michael War­riors.

“We’re young, Grade 11s, it’s a big jump from ju­nior to se­nior so they gotta get used to the speed, more struc­ture,” Huskies head coach Rob James said. “We’ve gotta do more struc­ture, too, so we gotta learn more of that. It takes at least a year to get to know the se­nior game. They’re learn­ing.”

North­west­ern opened the sea­son with four straight wins but came out tight against a War­riors squad that earned bronze at WOSSAA last sea­son. The Huskies trailed 20-6 at half and strug­gled to find their of­fen­sive rhythm.

“Our shots were nowhere near,” James said. “But the game was so close, even at half­time we’re only down 14 and they can make those up eas­ily.”

Most of the cur­rent ros­ter was part of the ju­nior team that went 28-0 and won the Western On­tario cham­pi­onship in 2016. The blue­print to last sea­son’s suc­cess was mapped out the pre­vi­ous year, James said, and the se­nior Huskies also be­lieve their best days are ahead.

“We’re do­ing ex­actly what I thought we would be do­ing,” James said. “I didn’t think we’d be the top team. We gotta get there and earn that. It’s com­ing.”

Ta­tum James and Paige Gof­far each had five points for the Huskies. Mor­gan Gof­far hit a three-pointer in the first quar­ter.

“They know they can’t play ner­vous,” coach James said. “They gotta play, they gotta move, they gotta do the things they didn’t do.

“Our goal is to make it to the fi­nal and see what hap­pens.”

If the Huskies ad­vance to the fi­nal there’s a good chance they’ll run into the War­riors, who im­proved to 6-0.

“I fully ex­pect them to be bet­ter the next time we play them,” St. Mike’s head coach Steve Go­forth said. “It won’t be that easy, and it wasn’t easy, but I don’t think it will be a 25-point dif­fer­ence next time we play them.”

Go­forth said he didn’t know what to ex­pect against the Huskies. St. Mike’s has dealt with a rash of in­juries early in the sea­son but is al­most back to full strength. Ly­dia Dun­can re­mains out, but the rest of the play­ers are back, even if some are banged up.

“That’s as healthy as we’ve been,” Go­forth said. “Fi­nally, it’s nice.”

Mia Val­cke and Jess Findlay Robin­son each had 11 points in the win. Joanna Van De Walle and Ainsleigh We­dow added nine apiece. St. Mike’s strug­gled against the Huskies’ de­fen­sive zone but started find­ing suc­cess in the sec­ond half by mov­ing the ball in­side and back out for three-point­ers and mid-range jumpers.

“We spend a lot of time shoot­ing in prac­tice be­cause it doesn’t mat­ter what you’re try­ing to do Xs and Os, if you can’t shoot the ball you’re not gonna score,” Go­forth said. “We give up a lit­tle bit of ex­e­cu­tion for some skill stuff.”

North­west­ern re­turns to the court next Wed­nes­day to face Goderich and Cen­tral Huron. St. Mike’s takes on un­de­feated Mitchell next Wed­nes­day. co­smith@post­media.com

The St. Marys Lin­colns lost 9-0 in Lon­don Wed­nes­day night. Mitchell Webb and Bran­don Glover each scored hat tricks for the Na­tion­als. Co­hen Kite­ley, Jack Webb and Bren­den Trot­tier had the other goals. Zachary Springer made 21 saves. Tris­tan Lewis stopped 39 shots for the Lin­colns.

CORY SMITH/THE

Kathryn Sim­mons of St. Mike’s drives between North­west­ern’s Ta­tum James (14) and Mor­gan Gof­far (3) dur­ing the se­nior girls bas­ket­ball game Wed­nes­day in Strat­ford. St. Mike’s won 48-15. For more pho­tos, please turn to page B3.

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