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.


U12 Spirits hosting East Meets West Tournament

The East Meets West Tournament is an 8 team tournament that works with teams to give them favourable times to help avoid hotel costs.
Teams from longer distances are given the second games on Saturdays to avoid Friday hotel stays and early mornings.
The sample schedule is the format and times always used for our 8 team tournaments.
Don’t miss your chance to attend the best tournament
East of Toronto and West of Ottawa!
* Player of the games
* Gatorade Skills competitions
* All-star jerseys
* MVP plaques
* Medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd

Girls Introductory to Basketball

Girls grade 3-6 of all skill levels welcome
Introductory to basketball skills will include
Followed by a small number of games each night like 3on3, 2on2
How to pay
Cost $20/per player
Payable via e-transfer to be************************@gm***.com
Include “Intro Sessions” in the message section
5:30-7:30pm *will confirm times
Monday, September 11
Wednesday, September 13
Monday, September 18
Wednesday, September 25
Eastside Secondary School, 275 Farley Avenue, Belleville

Each player should bring their own size 5 ball (some can be provided if needed) a full water bottle, and indoor shoes.

Click here to register

U12 Season Recap

First and foremost Coach Palleschi would like to thank coach Darryl Drain for helping coach the U12 girls this past year..  He did a great job developing the U12 girls last year, and in particular the 6 returning girls that started with him as Grade 5s.  The girls were very lucky to have him as a coach again this year.

The team would also like to thank Ashley Empey, Stacy Lyall and Melissa Copen-Gabourie for helping with hotels, logistics and running Teamsnap and Gary Lyall for helping coach on the bench during the Ontario Cup.  Thanks to all the parents for their support throughout the year.   Finally a big thanks to Erin as president and the rest of the executive, presiding over a very successful and virtually trouble free year including, with a special callout to  Sara Rozema for her outstanding communications throughout the year which I’m sure will help our recruiting efforts next year.

This year’s U12 Spirits team was composed of 10 Grade 6s (including 6 returning players) , 1 Grade 5 player and 1 Grade 4 player.

Unexpectedly, the team was placed in Division 1 of the OBL, just below OBLX to start the season.  With only a few practices under their belt, the parents were cautioned that this could get ugly and to be patient.  We prepared to do our best with an eye to re-ranking ½ way through which would likely drop us to a more appropriate level of competition.

The kids, however, had another thing in mind.   The team won their 1st Division 1 OBL game (by 1 point) and the girls not only started in Division 1, they proved they belonged.   The team went 2-4 (competitive in all 6 games)  and remained in Division 1 after the re-ranking which saw 2 of the teams we played competitively move up to OBLX to replace 2 other OBLX teams that moved down to Division 1.  Things were not going to get any easier.  Outside of Division 1 teams, the U12 girls had little trouble with teams below Division 1.

The girls continued to play competitively, often down 1 or 2 players, that finally led to a 13th place final ranking in the Province which placed them 5th in the Division 1 pool of the Ontario Cup.

The Ontario Cup was the highlight of the season as the girls went 2 and 1 and tied  for 1st overall in pool play; being that close to unbelievably  qualifying for Division 1 Gold..  The team, however,  lost the tie-breaker to the #1 ranked team and eventual Gold Medal winner putting them in the Bronze Medal game.

In the bronze medal game, the girls  started slowly and were down 25-5 after the 5th shift to the 2nd ranked team in Division 1.  After a spirited time-out, they dominated the rest of the game only to come up short  37-29.  Still a great effort by all the girls and a final ranking of 12th, moving up 1 spot after the Ontario Cup. 

The coaches are very proud of what this group of girls accomplished this year, exceeding all of their  expectations.  With fair play in U12 you need all 12 kids to contribute in order to play at a Division 1 level and these girls did just that.  More importantly,  all of the girls improved from the start of the season.  The future of the Spirits looks very bright and we look forward to seeing how these girls continue to develop as they continue their competitive careers for the Spirits.

It was a privilege coaching these fine young ladies!


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

U12’s win in front of home town crowd

After succumbing 3 times to a very good Peterborough Powers team, the U12 girls won the last match prior to the Ontario Cup 32-21 at Bayside (Wednesday night) in front a cheering home crowd.  Peterborough is ranked 12th, just above our team and we will be meeting them again in the 2nd pool game at the D1 division Ontario Cup Apr 14-16.
It may have been the best overall team effort this year with all the girls contributing to the decisive win; particularly playing well defensively.
Game MVP, Callie Lyall, led the team with 9 points. Shelby Brant with 8  and Myla Empey with 6.
Special mention to Kyrah Currin for her defensive effort and coach Drain for crafting an effective lineup rotation.
1 more week of practice before the Ontario Cup.

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

U12 double win at tri-meet

U12 Belleville Spirit girls won both games in their tri-meet with Kingston Impact and Brockville Blazers! A great team effort in spite of being down to 9 players.

The girls defeated Kingston Impact 39-18 in game 1. Audrina Carty was Player of the Game.

In game two, the girls defeated the Blazers 43-20.

Shelby Brant had team high 15 points, Kyrah Currin with 8 and Callie Lyall with 6. Player of the game with Liberty Bergen.

Equally great effort from the remaining players including:
Abigail Whiten, Avery McCullam, Nora Gabourie and Mila Kaliaieva.

Players that were unavailable (and missed by the team) included:
Zoey Hall, Myla Empey and Raya Holoway.

Next up: the girls play a controlled scrimmage with the U11 @belleville_spirits_basketball Boys January 30 at East Side Secondary.


U12s split games in OBL weekend #3

Congratulations to the U12 Belleville Spirits Girls who split their games on Sunday in Week 3 of OBL Pool B action.

The girls won game one, defeating UA Canada Elite 38-26. Coach Sandro said, it was a total team effort by all 12 girls and their best game to date!

In the second game, they faced the undefeated #1 team in the pool, Burlington Force. The girls competed hard and came out on the losing end, 34-24, but a very respectable showing against a very good team.

The girls are headed to their 4 game OBL weekend February 11-12.