Sentinels shine in Gander
Lady Sentinels capture McDonald’s basketball title
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 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.