Hoops’ crosstown ri­vals

Lakeshore Ga­tors send Port High Blue Bears into early hi­ber­na­tion at Tribune Tour­na­ment

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - SPORTS - BERND FRANKE bfranke@post­media.com

Port Col­borne’s West Side Story in girls high school bas­ket­ball didn’t have a happy end­ing for host Port High.

In­stead of Good Looks and the Blue Bears, Port High be­came the ear­li­est ca­su­alty at the 14th Tribune Girls Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment, drop­ping a 44-26 de­ci­sion to their crosstown ri­vals from the city’s east side, the Lakeshore Catholic Ga­tors.

Play­ers from both teams car­ried the pres­sure of dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions onto the court with them for Thurs­day’s con­so­la­tion quar­ter-fi­nal.

Port High, play­ing in front of a ca­pac­ity crowd that was over­whelm­ingly made up of friends, school­mates and fam­ily and be­ing ser­e­naded by the high school’s drum band, wanted to reward that sup­port by ex­celling on their home court.

Lakeshore, with a much larger stu­dent body from which to draw play­ers, needed to live up to its billing as a triple A team that would not lose to a sin­gle A ri­val in a must-win game.

Maddi Wil­cox, who topped the Ga­tors in scor­ing with 11 points and was named her team’s player of the game, said Lakeshore has been “up and down” so far this sea­son.

“We have our good games, we have our bad games,” the Grade 12 stu­dent said. “To­day was a good game.”

She said there’s al­ways some­thing spe­cial when­ever Port Col­borne’s two high schools play each other.

“There is lots of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween both,” Wil­cox said. “I have friends from both schools, so we were kind of go­ing against each other.

“That’s kind of hard, but you just put the feel­ings aside and play.”

She felt that as the host and as the team from the smaller school there’s was more pres­sure on the Blue Bears than there was on the Ga­tors.

Vic­to­ria Fraser, whose game-high 16 points earned her player of the game hon­ours for Port High, said she “per­son­ally” didn’t feel any pres­sure.

“They’re all my friends, some of my best friends are on that team,” she said. “I had fun, and I think my team had fun.”

Head coach Bar­clay Walker ad­dressed the “dou­ble pres­sure” of play­ing at home and fac­ing Lakeshore with the Blue Bears be­fore the game.

“I told them they had to play their game, that they couldn’t worry about what was go­ing on off the court,” he said. “They can’t worry about what the other team does, that we have to play our game the best that we could.”

De­spite the fi­nal score Walker took a lot of pos­i­tives from the game. He liked the way the the Blue Bears played de­fence and praised a high level of en­ergy that didn’t wane, even in the late go­ing.

“We’re strug­gling with of­fence,” Walker said. “We’re hav­ing a prob­lem get­ting some of­fen­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties go­ing.”

“I’m happy with the de­fence, but it’s of­fence and mov­ing the ball to the right place.”

Port High missed many more shots than it hit and would have ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nal round had it hit even half of them.

“But that’s the na­ture of bas­ket­ball, what are you go­ing to do about it?” he said. “It’s not a me­chan­i­cal thing to cor­rect, it’s not a strat­egy to cor­rect, it’s just the shots not go­ing in.”

Ag­gres­sive de­fence on Lakeshore’s part con­trib­uted to Port High’s low suc­cess rate drain­ing shots from close range and from be­yond the three­p­oint arc.

“I think the Lakeshore de­fence did a good job in rush­ing us.”

Lakeshore will play the Gover­nor Sim­coe Red­coats in a 3:30 p.m. semi­fi­nal at Wel­land Cen­ten­nial with a berth in Satur­day night’s B fi­nal on the line.

Sim­coe de­feated the Ri­d­ley Col­lege Tigers 36-32 while the other semi­fi­nal pits the Grimsby Ea­gles against the Saint Michael Mus­tangs.

Grimsby de­feated the E.L. Cross­ley Cy­clone and Saint Michael elim­i­nated the Saint Paul Pa­tri­ots 48-29.

Bull­dogs 49, Cougars 36

The Sir Win­ston Church Bull­dogs are among four teams that are un­de­feated head­ing into the third round of the 14th Tribune Girls Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment in south Ni­a­gara.

How­ever, as far as party poop­ers go, they are the undis­puted No. 1.

A day af­ter de­feat­ing the E.L. Cross­ley Cy­clone on their home court, the Bull­dogs did the same thing at Wel­land Cen­ten­nial against the host Cougars.

Ka­ley DeMont scored a team-high 14 points, all but two from be­yond the three-point arc, Ally Sen­tance 10 and Olivia Kreiger nine to send Cen­ten­nial to the side­lines and Churchill to the cham­pi­onship semi­fi­nals.

The Zone 4 Bull­dogs don’t play the Zone 3 Cougars dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, but Cen­ten­nial wasn’t an un­known quan­tity to Churchill.

“We knew that they can shoot and they drive a lot be­cause they are big­ger than us,” DeMont said. “As soon as started driv­ing, we knew we had to shut down their bigs and box out.”

She said Cen­ten­nial’s ag­gres­sive de­fence forced the Bull­dogs to ad­just their game plan.

“We had to pass more and just move the ball around.”

Head coach Phil Mosley said while the Cougars would have liked to go, they nonethe­less ac­com­plished a lot by ad­vanc­ing on the cham­pi­onship of the bracket.

“We feel like win­ning our first game puts us in with the up­per ech­e­lon of the tour­na­ment,” he said. “That’s where we be­long, but we just lost to a team that’s very strong.

“We knew they were tough com­ing in.”

Cather­ine Mal­tais and Des­tiny Paquin led Cen­ten­nial in scor­ing with 16 and 13 points, re­spec­tively.

Fly­ers 58, Ma­raud­ers 50

Re­cent his­tory won’t be re­peat­ing it­self at the 14th edi­tion of the Tribune Girls Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment.

Un­like last year, when the Jean Vanier Lynx swept both the Tribune and the Stan­dard Tour­na­ment in St. Catharines, there won’t be a dou­ble win­ner this time out.

The Eden Fly­ers made sure of that when they upset the sec­ond-seeded A.N. Myer Ma­raud­ers in cham­pi­onship quar­ter-fi­nal ac­tion Thurs­day night at Wel­land Cen­ten­nial.

Je­niah Wiens, with 16 points; Rachel Frena, 14; Mady Wein­ert, 11; and Beth deBoer, nine; led a bal­anced Eden at­tack on of­fence.

Ju­lia Colavec­chia and Tori Ri­gasDiDomenico paced Stan­dard Tour­na­ment gold medal­list Myer with 21 and 20 points, re­spec­tively.

Thurs­day’s late cham­pi­onship quar­ter-fi­nal had the top-seeded Notre Dame Fight­ing Ir­ish play­ing the De­nis Mor­ris Reds, and the Vanier tak­ing on the Greater Fort Erie Gryphons.

JULIE JOCSAK/STAN­DARD STAFF

Alexandra Klauck of the Lakeshore Ga­tors beats Al­lyce An­drews of the Port Col­borne Bears to the re­bound dur­ing the Tribune Girls Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment at Port Col­borne High School on Thurs­day.

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