u12 Girls Ontario Cup Weekend in Ottawa

The U12 Girls finished their season with their Ontario Cup Finals this past weekend in Ottawa.
After finishing 19 and 5; including a gold medal win in Brockville and OBL Gold Medal after moving up a division and running the table 6-0 for a combined  11-1 OBL record;  the girls again moved up another division to compete in Division 3 of the Ontario Cup, ranked 21st overall and 5th in D3 pool.
With 8 Grade 5s and 3 Grade 6s, we knew we’d be in tough but it’s been like that most of the year.
In Game 1 the girls were outstanding  winning 37-35 against the Number 1 seed Nepean Blue Devils.  Sammy Bentley led the team with 16 points and Abigail Sword with 6 points.  Possibly our best game all year.
In Game 2 the girls again played well.  We led at half by 10 points but had a rocky 5th shift where we were outscored by 11 points. It was a devastating loss for the girls and the head coach who prides himself with in-game adjustments, didn’t adjust fast enough in that 5th shift.   We had good looks in the last minute to pull it out but rimmed out a couple of shots in the dying seconds.
In Game 3 we were up against a dominant Gator Academy team that should have been playing 1 or 2 pools up (they were the eventual Gold Medal winner, winning 42-14).  Having said that, while they destroyed every team, we played them tough;  losing by only 13; 38 to 25 and out-scoring them in the 2nd half.  This on top of playing against a 3-2 zone trapping defense (which is not illegal but discouraged at this age group)  and probably the best U12 player I”ve ever seen (she scored 20 points). Ciara Lewis and Mila Kaliaieva led  with 5 points each followed by Raya Holoway, Abigail  and Irelyn O’Connor with 4 each.  A very respectable showing.
Unfortunately we lost the 3-way tie-breaker by 2 points and ended up 3rd in the Pool and out of medal contention.
The kids and parents had a great night together back at the hotel and the girls woke up Sunday ready to rumble in our last official game.
In the 3rd vs 3rd cross-over game we played what might be the most memorable game I’ve been a part of versus Huron Lakers.  The game ended up tied in regulation time and in the first OT Huron tied the game again with no time left, sinking a great 3 point shot at the buzzer.  The 2nd OT period was back and forth with Huron leading by 2 with less than a minute left when Sammy Bentley drained a 3 pointer to give us the 1 point lead followed by a late foul shot and a well deserved and exciting 33-31 victory.  A great way to end the season and a game that all of us will remember for a long time.
A very emotional end to the season for both parents and players  as the team will diverge with the eight Grade 5s remaining in U12 and the three  Grade 6s moving up next year.
We are all very proud of the girls as they exceeded all expectations and proved to be warriors against older and bigger competition.   The team would be considered  undersized for U12 but not when you measure the size of their hearts where we were 2nd to none.
Congratulations to a big part of the Spirits future:
Abigail Sword, Raya Holoway, Ciara Lewis, Sophiya Vance, Mila Kaliaieva, Everly Clarke, Sammy Bentley, Kiyon Maracle, Reese Coughlin, Irelyn O’Connor and Eve Mitchel.
Coaches Steph Holoway, Terri Coughlin and Sandro Palleschi with special mention to guest coaches Geordie Michel and Ivan Kaliaieva.


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