Sentinels repeat as champs
To win one championship is quite the feat, but to repeat as champions is something else altogether. The Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels female basketball team turned the trick when they captured their second straight AAAA Tier II female basketball title, defeating the Holy Trinity Tigers in an overtime thriller 69-65.
Overtime games are a gut check for players and coaches in any sport. Both have to push themselves for longer than they bargained for if they want to win the game. Heading into the final of the AAAA Tier II female basketball championships, the Carbonear Collegiate Lady Sentinels were feeling that as the last few seconds of regulation slipped away in their matchup with the Holy Trinity Tigers from Torbay. “We were neck and neck the entire game,” said guard Morgan Clarke. “When it was 60-60, I said, ‘no, no, this isn’t happening.’ I was so stressed out”
Despite the nerves, the Sentinels wanted it a little bit more than the Tigers and came out with the 69-65 victory and their second straight Tier II provincial title. People say repeating as a champion is the hardest thing to do in sports. Champions can’t sneak up on teams and coaches prepare accordingly.
“I think we knew we had a better shot at winning it, but we never expected to come out two in a row,” said Clarke. These Sentinels have always been ahead of the plan laid out for them by coach Edward Jarvis. Last year was supposed to be a learning year with aims at seriously competing this year. Last season’s victory turned that notion on its ear, while this title has sent other teams back to the drawing board.
“The third year was the original year when we were supposed to win,” said forward Arianna Lee. “We’re two years ahead of schedule.” Heading into the championship game, the Tigers and Sentinels had met five previous times this season. Holy Trinity held a commanding 5-0 lead in the season series and had punished the Sentinels in the last game the teams played before the provincial tournament.
However, the early season results fuelled the team’s desire to get one in the win column before the season closed. “Before the game started we said ‘We’re not friends, we have to win this,’” said Clarke. “We won the one that counted,” added Jarvis. Teams that have played together for a number of years form a certain level of trust with each when on the floor. Think the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA and you’ll have an idea of what that means.
The Sentinels have that in spades. “We have trust when we pass the ball,” said Clarke. “If we make a bad pass, we know Mallory (Gillespie) or Chelsea (Parsons) are going to catch it. We have the perfect combination of size, speed and chemistry.”
“We’re like a big family,” added Kennedy. “We have good chemistry and we pick up for each other.” Heading into next season, the core of the team is returning, as the Sentinels are losing just two players — Clarke and Anna Montgomery — to graduation. That leaves a group primed to potentially produce a third straight provincial title next season.Clarke reflected on finishing her high school career with a second provincial banner. “For that game, the way it was played, the sportsmanship, the hype and the craziness of it, it was certainly a way to end off my high school career.”