Lady Sen­tinels turn heads in hoop tour­ney

Earn sil­ver medal at McDon­ald’s Clas­sic

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­

De­pend­ing on who you ask, the girls’ bas­ket­ball team at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate might be the strong­est pro­gram un­der the Sen­tinels um­brella.

Un­der the guid­ance of coach Ed Jarvis, the club made claim to that ti­tle af­ter an un­ex­pected sec­ond place fin­ish in the girls bracket of 27th McDon­ald’s Clas­sic Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment held at St. Paul’s Ele­men­tary in Gan­der Jan. 1012.

Ranked last head­ing into the tour­na­ment, Car­bon­ear was the youngest team reg­is­tered to com­pete. The team does not have any Level III play­ers with its old­est be­ing in Level II.

Us­ing the un­der­dog sta­tus that comes with be­ing ranked last, the Lady Sen­tinels per­se­vered, meet­ing a tough Stephenville High Spar­tan team in the tour­na­ment fi­nal.

“That was the best part of the tour­na­ment, us go­ing out and prov­ing that we were ac­tu­ally a good team,” said team cap­tain Mor­gan Clarke of Vic­to­ria.

Clarke and her team­mates gave Stephenville ev­ery­thing they could han­dle for 40 min­utes and be­yond.

For all of reg­u­la­tion, both teams played in­tense bas­ket­ball. Ev­ery shot had a pur­pose and ev­ery foul was solid.

“I told them they could com­pete, that’s the very first thing I said. You can com­pete with th­ese girls and you are as good as th­ese girls,” said Jarvis.

Fu­elled by their coach’s words, the Lady Sen­tinels gave Stephenville ev­ery­thing they could han­dle and when the two teams were notched at 51 at the end of reg­u­la­tion. Over­time would be needed to de­ter­mine the cham­pion.

“It was prob­a­bly the most in­tense game I’ve ever played in my life,” said Clarke.

When the over­time dust had set­tled, the Spar­tans had nar­rowly de­feated the Sen­tinels 60-57.

Mal­lory Gille­spie poured in 28 points, while Chelsey Par­sons and Emily Kennedy chipped in with 10 each to pace the Sen­tinels.

“We’re dis­ap­pointed with the loss, but it was the process that was more im­por­tant for me,” said Jarvis.

“We caught a lot of peo­ple by sur­prise,” added Clarke. “We turned a lot of heads.”

The Sen­tinels got started on the wrong foot in the tour­na­ment with an open­ing loss to the

The tour­na­ment

same Stephenville team: 47-38. In that game, Clarke, Mal­lory Gille­spie and Jas­mine Slade led the way with six points apiece.

“We kind of got our hopes down and it dis­cour­aged us,” said Clarke.

How­ever, that all changed when the cal­en­dar turned to Satur­day ( Jan. 11). “That’s when we did our best,” said Clarke. In the first game Satur­day, Car­bon­ear out­classed the rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Twill­ingate 60 - 31. Top scor­ers were Kennedy with 24, Slade with 15 and Par­sons chipped in eight.

The next game was much of the same as the Lady Sen­tinels put a beat­ing on Ex­ploits Val­ley High of Grand Falls-Wind­sor 61-32. Kennedy was again the top scorer for Car­bon­ear with 22 points, while Clarke and Par­sons each had eight.

In the crossover, El­wood High of Deer Lake was next on the chop­ping block. Car­bon­ear pasted the Lak­ers 71-42 to book its ticket to the cham­pi­onship.

Kennedy (28), Gille­spie (16) and Michaela Case (12) were the top scor­ers.

“The more we went, the bet­ter we got,” said Jarvis on his team’s im­prove­ment through the tour­na­ment.

An in­tro­duc­tion

For Jarvis, the high plac­ing in the tour­na­ment was ic­ing on the cake. His real goal was in­tro­duc­ing his young charges to “big, se­nior ball.”

“That was the process. That was the most im­por­tant thing we wanted,” said the coach. “Win, lose or draw, go­ing out there was very im­por­tant to show them what se­nior ball is like.”

While it may not be much of a dif­fer­ence be­tween Level II and Level III play­ers, there is a gap be­tween Level I and the se­nior ages.

For the Lady Sen­tienls, who will par­tic­i­pate in AAAA di­vi­sion II provin­cials, the tour­na­ment pro­vided in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for a team fix­ing to fea­ture promi­nently over the next two sea­sons.

“They’ll learn just as much from that loss as they will from a win,” Jarvis noted.

“It’s a good morale boost for us, and to look at what we can ac­com­plish as a group,” added Clarke.

Mem­bers of the team are: Ker­ri­lynn Maloney, Meghan Lehr, Chelsea Walsh, Michaela Case, Ari­anna Lee, Stephanie Slade, Emily Kennedy, Chelsey Par­sons, Brianna Roberts, Jas­mine Slade, Mal­lory Gille­spie, Na­jaula Sparkes, Mor­gan Clarke and Devon Nicholson.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate Lady Sen­tinels bas­ket­ball player Mor­gan Clarke lines up a shot dur­ing prac­tice at the school on Jan. 14.

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