Riverhawks upset Wolves in championship
Months of perfection lost in thirty-eight minutes.
Sports can be both cruel and joyous depending on allegiances and expectations.
The Walkerton District Riverhawks threw a wrench into the Owen Sound District Wolves plans of an undefeated season en route to a championship with a 45-42 comefrom-behind win in their home gym on Friday afternoon.
Despite finishing as the Bluewater Athletic Association’s South Division leader the River hawks were undoubtedly the underdogs headed into Friday’s championship.
No fault of their own, the Wolves have just had been that good. A spotless 8-0 record accompanied Owen Sound to Walkerton on Friday.
The pack looked the part early. Owen Sound jumped out to a 16-5 lead after the first quarter thanks to seven points from centre Tia Quesnel and six points added by guard Avory Konrad Dolson.
The Wolves held off a Riverhawks run in the second quarter that chipped into their lead to take a 26-18 advantage into half-time.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall.
Alex Oestricher heated up for seven of the Riverhawks 13 points in the second frame. She joined Sarah Piebel who notched six points in the half.
Worse news for the Wolves was the fact the nucleus of their team, Quesnel, was in foul trouble. She walked off the court at half-time with four infractions - one away from permanent banishment to the bench.
The script was setup for a comeback and the Riverhawks obliged. Oestricher dropped six points in the third quarter by driving the lane with reckless abandon.
Some of her shots looked like prayers, but they fell through time and time again - how did that go in? Doesn’t matter. She gave the Riverhawks their first lead of the game.
With Walkerton making their biggest run of the contest Jordan Wells nailed a three-point shot to send the hometown crowd into hysterics.
It sounded like a cramped kitchen during Christmas dinner prep as the Riverhawks fans smuggled in pots and pans to clang and bang in support of their squad.
The ‘Hawks defence held the Wolves to a staggering three points in the third quarter, and entered the fourth with a 36-29 lead.
Quesnel picked up her fifth foul, and the league’s best player was forced to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines.
The Wolves looked frustrated and spent, but they also proved too good of a team to go away quietly. Playing their second game of the day Owen Sound mounted a comeback of their own.
Led by Jill Lyman the Wolves clawed back. The point guard had five points in the frame aided by back-to-back buckets from Konrad Dolson.
Owen Sound got within one shot of a tie game when they reached the bonus - With five team fouls racked up every whistle resulted in free throws for the Riverhawks regardless of the play.
Oestricher nailed three of her five free shots and sealed the game with a late layup.
Despite fouling out in the third quarter Quesnel led all Wolves scorers with fourteen points.
According to BAA records the 2018 Riverhawks are the school’s first senior girls basketball champion since at least prior to the 199899 season when the online database begins.
In the junior girls bracket the Kincardine Knights defeated the St. Mary’s Mustangs 24-23 to win their first junior championship since 2015-16.
The Wolves met the Grey Highlands Lions (5-3) in the semifinal on Friday and beat the pride by a score of 47-25.
Centre Tia Quesnel led all scorers with 14 points for the Wolves while sharpshooting Hailey Muzzell added 11 off the bench for Owen Sound.
Sianda Bikker’s 11 points led all Lions scorers.
Owen Sound got off to a quick start. Mae Macneil scored seconds after the opening tip as she snuck behind the Lions defence for an uncontested lay-up.
Owen Sound moved the ball well on offence leading to open looks and clearing out space for Quesnel in the lane.
By the end of the opening frame the Wolves had chipped out a 15-6 lead.
In the second quarter Muzzell entered the game and hit the first of three daggers from behind the arc.
Despite the Wolves offensive onslaught the Lions began to have some success with points off the glass. At the end of the half Nicole Matyka and Bikker scored on putback opportunities.
Owen Sound led 24-10 at the half.
The Wolves got into foul trouble in the third quarter as the Lions drove the lane relentlessly. With Owen Sound in the bonus penalty early Grey Highlands went to the stripe for 11 free shots in the quarter and converted on six of those opportunities.
Despite the trouble Quesnel acted as a constant safety valve for Owen Sound. When the offence stagnated the Wolves knew they could kick it inside for a good look at the hoop. She was held off the board in the third, but sank six of her 14 in the fourth quarter as Owen Sound pulled away.
Jill Lyman added six points in the game for Owen Sound including a first quarter three. Macniel, Lauren Radbourne, Mackenzee Pantry, and Avory Konrad Dolson each scored four.
Joclyn Fraser’s nose for the basket helped her sink five free-throws in the final two quarters of the game for the Lions.
The Wolves will now head to the CWOSSA ‘AAA’ senior girls basketball championship in Kitchener. The two-day tournament starts on Nov. 16.
Grey Highlands and St. Mary’s will represent the BAA at the CWOSSA ‘AA’ senior girls b-ball championship in Waterloo and Cambridge, Nov. 16 is the first day of games for that two-day tournament.
The Kincardine Knights will host the CWOSSA ‘A’ senior girls basketball tournament with Walkerton as the BAA representative. The oneday tournament happens on Nov. 16.