U14 Spirits are Ontario Cup Gold Medal Champions!

The u14’s agreed on one goal….to win the final game of the season regardless of where they placed… and that is exactly what they did.

Niagara Falls was the final stop in the Spirits u14’s girls season as they attended the Ontario Cup finals this past weekend. All of their effort, dedication, teamwork and growth were on display in four action packed and exciting games that saw their families and fans cheering them on every step of the way.

The team went 3-0 in pool play, including a highly anticipated game versus the Kingston Impact team on Saturday morning, who had beat them twice before during the season.

It was a defensive battle at halftime, with a low score of 11-9 for Impact.

The girls dug deep in the second half, handling the constant full court pressure and scoring an incredible 32 points, leading to a 41-30 victory and more importantly, a spot in the gold medal game on Sunday versus a very talented Flamborough Fire team.

Battling another full court defense, it did not look promising early on for the girls, trailing 22-13 at half.

Showing a never quit attitude and the incredible support coming from team-mates and families backing them up, the girls made one final push in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Flamborough 20 – 8 and hanging on to win the gold medal game with a score of 38-35.

Incredible effort from all involved and an experience that will be remembered for a long time.

Thanks to everyone involved in making it a great season!

– Coach McGrath

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U16s Sweep Final Four

Spirits girls travelled all the way to N. York (that’s North, not New) this past weekend for their Final Four OBL games. Saturday started strong with their second win this season over Ottawa; 46 – 29.

Then, North Toronto Huskies, a taller team than us for sure but, over time, no match for our ‘wheels always in motion‘ approach. Spirits won 52 – 39.

Sunday noon start with a game against Halton. They are a quick, disciplined, and patient bunch of girls, playing solid defense and space/share offense. OBL provided no shot clocks this weekend so it took amazing defensive effort from our girls to hold Halton in check for 20, 30, sometimes up to 40 seconds with no 24 second stoppage.

Ball pressure, always

everywhere, was, again, the key for us. And transition points.

Spirits girls are always looking to push it down the floor. Missed some chances but made lots too. Shout out to the U19 girls who came out to cheer us on to a 52 – 46 win.

We ended the weekend with a win over Brampton 53-35. By then, hot days, hot gym, both teams were looking pretty tired.

Great to get four more solid wins as we head into OBA Cup weekend May 5. Big thanks to team sponsor @ellbrookexcavatinginc for your support this season!

Thanks again to parents and friends for support all weekend!

U12 Spirits Finish Season 12th In Province

The U12 Belleville Spirits girls competed in their Ontario Cup this past weekend in Ottawa, playing in Division 1, (just below OBLX).

With 6 returning players, and 6 new players, we were somehow placed in Pool A (just below OBLX) in the OBL league. With some trepidation we didn’t challenge the placement and decided to do our best.

The girls not only proved that they could compete at this level, they remained there even after the re-ranking. This led to a final ranking of 13th in the province of 48 teams, and 5th seed in Division 1 for the Ontario Cup.

Game 1:

Mississauga (the eventual Gold Medal winners who started out in OBLX) defeated us 50 to 29 in the 1st game. It was close in the 1st half, only down 25 to 20 but ran into some foul trouble, losing one of our top players and struggled a bit on defense afterwards. I do not have any individual stats.

Player of the Game: Abby Whitten for her defense and pitching in with a nice basket!

Game 2:

In a must win game we defeated Peterborough (a team we lost to 3 times in the regular season and ranked just above us).

Game MVPs: Callie Lyall led the team with 13 points, Shelby Brant with 5 and Kyrah Currin with 3.

Game 3:

In another must win game for us to get into a medal game, we defeated Thornhill 34 to 28 (who had earlier defeated Mississauga). Shelby led the team with 13 points and was outstanding offensively; Callie with 7 and Kyrah with 5.

Co-Players of the game: Shelby (offensively), Callie (for a strong 2-way game) and Kyrah for outstanding defense.

With a 2 and 1 record we tied with Mississauga for 1st but lost out on the tie-breaker. So we moved on to the Bronze Medal game.

Game 4:

In the Bronze Medal game we started out really flat and were down 25-5 early in the 2nd half.

After a ‘fiery’ half time ‘motivational’ speech (more fire than motivation if I’m to be honest 🙂) we competed hard in the rest of the 2nd half eventually losing 37 to 28. We ended up outscoring them 23-12 in the final 3 shifts.

Myla Empey led the team with 10 points, Kyrah with 6, Shelby with 4 and Callie with 3.

Co-players of the game: Mila Kalyaev (our Grade 4 girl) scored 1 of her 2 tournament baskets this game) and Myla Empey for dominating at both ends of the court.

When the realization kicked that this was our last official game of the year, some tears were shed (I hid mine until I got back to the car).

Rest of the team included:

Liberty Bergen, Raya Holoway, Nora Gabourie, Audrina Carty, Zoe Hall and Avery Hayes who contributed to our success this weekend.

I’m so proud of all these girls and I want to thank all of them for the fun times we had, for competing hard every game and thanks to the parents for all their support (although they kept me up way to long on Saturday night), Stacy Lyall, Mellissa Gabourie and Ashley Empey for all the work they did with communication, logistics, hotel arrangements etc.

Huge thanks to coach Darryl Drain for all he did for the team this year and coaching the 6 returning players last year and Gary Lyall for helping.

Visit this teams page here

For info on next seasons tryouts, click here

U14s final OBL weekend

This past weekend saw the U14 girls compete in their final OBL weekend before heading off to play in the Ontario Cup finals in Niagara Falls on April 29th/30th.

As expected following a long lay-off over March, the girls came out a little slow and sluggish in their first game versus Vaughan City. Turn-overs on offense and team defense led to a low scoring game, however the defensive intensity picked up late in the game enough to capture the win.
In the second game of the day, the lady Spirits faced off for the 3rd time against the Orangeville Hawks, with the tiebreaker on the line.  In this high scoring game, the girls picked up their intensity on individual and team defense, often times frustrating the Hawks into forced shots and turnovers.  Offensively, the girls faced yet another common 2-3 zone, however with much improved outside shooting and ball movement, the Hawks were forced to change-up their defense  but it didn’t seem to matter, as the Spirits walked away with a hard fought 44-38 W.
Through hard work and dedication, the u14’s end the OBL regular season with an impressive 10-2 record.  The girls would like to thank their sponsors for their financial support throughout the season.

U16 girls split games in OBL weekend #4

The U16 midget girls travelled to Markham this past Saturday for weekend #4 OBL.

The team had moved up a pool so certainly both games were more competitive, losing the first 34 – 27 to London Ramblers and winning the afternoon game 55 – 37 over Blessed Sacrement Yellow Jackets.

Against London, lots was going right; good energy, opportunities, aggressive defence and rebounding. But “rimitis” got us. Just nothing would fall through. It happens. Great learning opportunity for everyone.
Certainly sparked a fire for our afternoon game.

The girls pushed ahead 11 – 0 very early and never looked back. Great ball pressure defense, often forcing 12 – 15 seconds off the shot clock before the Yellow Jackets got anywhere near the basket. Lots of tips, deflections and push outs to transition scores. Always fast, always fun to watch.

This team continues to show better, building confidence along the way. Always positive with each other, always respectful, always willing to show great effort. Well done all!

– Coach de Vries

U14’s go 3-1 in OBL weekend #4

The u14’s hit the hardwood this past weekend, following a lengthy three week layoff from games. With an impressive record of 5-1 (tied for first place), prior to the OBL break, the girls moved up a pool in their division with 5 other teams.
Their first game was against the Orangeville Hawks, a team they beat earlier in the season, however after a sluggish start and some missed scoring opportunities, they were on the losing end of a 43-28 score.
Showing strong resilience, teamwork and overall effort, the u14’s went on to win the next three games of the weekend, one of which was against the top seeded North York Lions who they lost to earlier in the season.
Both individual and team defense, ball movement and passing, shooting and free-throws were all keys in the successful weekend.
With a potential tri-meet for the end of March and two OBL games in April, the girls will be travelling to Niagara Falls to compete in the year end Ontario Cup.
The team has an overall record of 8-2 in league play and 14-5 overall!
Great work ladies!

U12 OBL weekend #4 recap

Game recap from Coach Sandro:

The U12 Spirits Girls traveled to Welland to play 4 games to start the 2nd half of the OBL League. We finished 2 and 4 in the 1st half playing in Pool B (just below OBLX).

The pools were re-ranked and the girls earned the right to remain in Pool B with 3 OBLX teams dropping down and 2 teams from the lower pool coming up. Getting to play in a very tough pool was a huge achievement for the girls.

While the kids and parents had a great time overall, staying overnight for the first time together as a team, the games didn’t go as well as we would have liked.

We were down to 10 players and started very slow in Game 1; eventually losing to Peterborough 27-24. Shelby Brant led the scoring with 12 points and player of the game Kyrah Currin scored 10 while also being a force on defense.

We lost 39-7 to a strong Brantford CYO team, but the girls played better than the score indicated. Avery Hayes was player of the game with her aggressiveness on defense.

We were back to 11 players on Sunday and started off well with a 41-26 victory over Stoney Creek. Callie Lyall returned on Sunday and led the scoring with 11 points. Kyrah with 10 and Shelby with 8. Nora Gabourie was Player of the Game with strong effort and intensity at both ends of the court.

We finished with a 54-27 loss to Guelph, although we kept it close in the 1st half only being down 28-20 but got overmatched in the 2nd half.

This game featured something I’ve not seen at any level. With 1.9 seconds left in the 2nd shift, Shelby rolled the ball and Callie picked it up just before center, passed it back to Shelby who hit the 3 just past center. Unfortunately we were about a split second too late. What was even more impressive was the same exact situation near the end of the 4th shift, this time with 2.9 seconds left on the clock. Callie and Shelby teamed up again with a roll down to just before center and a pass back to Shelby who hit the 3 again just past center; this time beating the buzzer. Both teams and coaches and all the fans applauded the feat!

Shelby was player of the game and leading scorer with 13 points. Callie chipped in with 5.

We play Ottawa Next Level (11am) and Gloucester (at 3:30pm) on Sunday Feb 19th at Bayside SS if anyone wants to come and watch.

📸: Kay Ouimette

U16’s bring OBL wins to 6

Saturday saw the girls travel to Havergal College in Toronto for two OBL games. Possibly inspired by the great gym on an awesome campus the Spirits major midget girls racked up two more wins, bringing their OBL total to six. The early morning start against Ottawa Next Level proved no deterrent as the team came out early and strong with a full court press, good rebounding, and quick transition. With Spirits leading 30 – 18 at the half, Ottawa was unable to match the ongoing pace and pressure. Final score was 57 – 31 with Lou getting 18 points, Avery and Mak with 12 each.

The afternoon game, against Niagra Red Raiders, was more tenacious, especially at the start. We are trying to implement different defensive and press strategies as well as diversify our offensive options. Certainly some confusion but, as we get it figured out, our game will certainly grow stronger. After a 31 – 17 half time lead the Spirits finished strong, winning 51 – 33. A very balanced scoring game; Emery leading with 10 points.

Defense, rebounding, and transition continue to influence every game we play. Shoutout to Grace for ‘ never quit’ ball pressure defense, to all the girls who are, with time, figuring out how to secure rebounds for us. Our transition offense – and defense – continues to get quicker, stronger, smarter. Thank you girls for doing the hard work required to get better.

Finally, many parents at the games. Awesome to see. Many thanks.

Next event is March 4/5 tournament in Newmarket.


U14 Belleville Spirits golden in Orleans

By BROCK ORMOND, from InQuinte.ca

The U14 Belleville Spirits basketball team took the mantle of ‘golden girls’ on the weekend.

The Spirits clinched the Division 3 gold medal at the Mike O’Connor Memorial Tournament in Orleans (near Ottawa) on Sunday with a 35-14 victory over the Kanata Selects.

That win capped off a 4-0 weekend for the Spirits after they defeated a pair of teams from Nepean by scores of 40-20 and 63-18 and knocked off a Brockville Blazers squad 36-19 to book their ticket to the Gold Medal game.

Team members are as follows: #3 Scarlet Clarke, #4 Madilyn Whiten, #5 Alexa Drumm, #6 Logan Potts, #10 Sofia Edgett, #11 Hadley Rozema, #20 Whitney Milne, #25 Paige McGrath, #33 Rylee Baldini-Lazier, #40 Tess Shakell, #42 Julia Smith

Head Coach- Darrell McGrath, Assistant Coaches- Darrell Edgett, Justin Shakell, Manager- Sara Rozema

Visit the Spirits website or Facebook page to keep track of the organization through the rest of the season.



Another successful OBL weekend for U14s

The U14 Spirit girls had another successful OBL weekend playing in Toronto, with two solid wins.

Their first game was versus first place Orangeville Hawks where the girls stepped up their defence in the second half and distributed the ball well on offence to finish with a 39-28 win. Whitney Milne lead all scorers with a career high 16 points, Sofia Edgett scoring 7, Julia Smith and Scarlet Clarke contributing 6 points each.

The girls came out firing on all cylinders versus Brampton Breakdown winning 45-11. Strong team effort from all girls on both ends of the floor. Paige McGrath lead the way with a career high 18 points and Sofia Edgett with 14 points. Other scorers were Riley Baldini with 4 and Whitney Milne with 9.

The team is off to Ottawa next weekend to play in the @gcbawolverines Mike O’Connor Memorial Tournament.