Sen­tinels shine in Gan­der

Lady Sen­tinels cap­ture McDon­ald’s bas­ket­ball ti­tle

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s girls’ bas­ket­ball team took home the ti­tle after com­pet­ing at a re­cent tour­na­ment in Gan­der. The play­ers had a great time work­ing hard and do­ing their best to make sure they took care of business on the hard court.

Good teams have that ex­tra gear they can get to when they need it.

It’s a level of play they can reach at a mo­ment’s no­tice and one their op­po­nents have trou­ble du­pli­cat­ing. They make things ex­cit­ing, build off each other and make it in­creas­ingly more dif­fi­cult to beat them down the stretch in games.

The Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate fe­male bas­ket­ball team found that ex­tra gear in its cham­pi­onship show­down with JMS Olds Col­le­giate of Twill­ingate in the fi­nal of the 26th an­nual McDon­ald’s Clas­sic bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment held at St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate in Gan­der Jan. 9-11.

A tight game up un­til the fi­nal five min­utes, the Sen­tinels found that next level and pulled away from the scrappy Tigers team with a com­bi­na­tion of air-tight de­fence and timely buck­ets. With Twill­ingate tir­ing to­wards the end, Car­bon­ear poured it on.

“We turned it up de­fen­sively as they got tired,” said guard Na­jaula Sparkes. “We made them turn the ball over and got some easy bas­kets.”

In the end, Car­bon­ear cap­tured the cov­eted banner and ex­or­cised the demons from last year’s McDon­ald’s fi­nal de­feat. Jas­mine Slade was named the player of the game in the fi­nal.

“We wanted to come back strong this year,” said Sparkes. “We wanted to show that even though we lost last year (in the fi­nal) … we weren’t go­ing to give up this year.”

The ti­tle marked the first time a team from Car­bon­ear had cap­tured the McDon­ald’s Clas­sic cham­pi­onship since 2006.

The tour­na­ment

The Sen­tinels found them­selves get­ting stronger as the tour­na­ment pro­gressed. First, they avenged last year’s cham­pi­onship loss to the ri­val Stephenville Spar­tans in their open­ing matchup. Emily Kennedy was named player of the game for Car­bon­ear.

That was fol­lowed by a de­feat of the El­wood High Lak­ers of Deer Lake. Do-ev­ery­thing for­ward Mal­lory Gille­spie was the player of the game in the sec­ond match.

“After we beat Stephenville, we were feel­ing pretty good,” said Sparkes. “Then, we beat Deer Lake, who were a good team. Our con­fi­dence shot through the roof.”

That meant bad things for the Sen­tinels’ semi­fi­nals op­po­nent, the Ex­ploit Val­ley High Ea­gles of Grand Falls-Wind­sor. Chelsey Par- sons was the top player for the Sen­tinels in that one.

First high school roadie

The tour­na­ment rep­re­sented a cou­ple of firsts for some of the Sen­tinels play­ers. For first-year play­ers like Anna Mont­gomery, Bri­anna Meadus and Han­nah Evely, it was their first high school tour­na­ment on the road and their first road trip in gen­eral.

Car­bon­ear girls’ team host­ing

tour­na­ment next month

“It was re­ally ex­cit­ing,” said Evely of the road trip ex­pe­ri­ence. “After the games we would come back to the ho­tel and hang out.”

Get­ting back to the tour­na­ment, play­ing games in a tour­na­ment set­ting on the road made Evely a lit­tle ner­vous, but not too ner­vous.

“You wanted to play well be­cause you didn’t want to let any­one down,” she said. “That was scary, but fun. “

Evely and the other first-year play­ers ac­cli­mated them­selves well in the tough bas­ket­ball cli­mate as the team came out on top.

Next up for the Sen­tinels will be their home tour­na­ment, the Sub­way Clas­sic Feb. 13-14 at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate.

The play­ers are look­ing for­ward to strut­ting their stuff for their home fans and fur­ther ce­ment­ing them­selves as a provin­cial power in the AAAA tier II di­vi­sion.

“We re­ally want to win that one,” said Sparkes.

The Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate fe­male bas­ket­ball team de­feated the JM Olds Col­le­giate Tigers of Twill­ingate in the fi­nal of the 26th an­nual McDon­ald’s Clas­sic held at St. Paul’s In­ter­me­di­ate in Gan­der Jan. 9-11. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) – man­ager Megan Case, Jas­mine Slade, Mal­lory Gille­spie, Emily Kennedy, Mor­gan Clarke and Meghan Lehr; back - Ker­ri­lynn Maloney, Devon Nicholson, Bri­anna Meadus, Anna Mont­gomery, Michaela Case, Ari­anna Lee, Bri­anna Roberts, Chelsey Par­sons, Na­jaula Sparkes, Han­nah Evely and coach Ed Jarvis.

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