Lesson learned for Huskies
Northwestern looks to the future in senior girls hoops loss to St. Mike’s
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.