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.


U16 McGrath girls take home 2nd place trophy at IEM Tournament

By: Jessyka Maliksi  

NEWMARKET – Over the weekend, the u16 McGrath girls competed in the IEM Tournament, and came home with the second-place trophy.  

The girls started off the weekend strong, winning three games in a row, leading them to the gold medal game.  

The team’s first win was against Oakville Venom, working together and coming out with a team win, winning 48-18.  

The girls brought that big win energy to their next game Defeating the Brockville Blazers by five (38-33) to end their Saturday night.  

Being able to sleep in the following day, the girls took advantage of the extra hours and came out strong against NuStep Basketball. Winning 47-26 and clenching their spot at a first-place trophy. 

In a nail-biting gold medal game, the girls played hard until the very last buzzer but came up short.  

Losing to u15 Kingston Impact by 4 (30-34).  

Catch the girls in action for their 4-game OBL weekend on Apr. 6 and 7.  

u16 McGrath girls with second place trophy at the IEM Tournament in Newmarket

Spirits u19 girls go 1-1 at home

By: Jessyka Maliksi 

BELLEVILLE – This past Saturday the u19 girls took on the North Toronto Huskies and KW Vipers at Bayside Secondary School.  

Being the first game of the day, the girls did not disappoint.  

Their first game was against the North Toronto Huskies. 

Both teams kept it close all four quarters, but the Spirits came up on top, winning 54-50.  

With three players in double digits, this was a team effort up until the very end.  

#23 Charlotte Farrell finished with 15 points, hitting crucial threes for the team to keep their lead.  

#12 Louie McFaul and #2 Emery Leveque adding 12 points each.  

After an eight hour wait, the girls played again for their last game of the day. 

The Spirits went against the KW Vipers. 

They put up a good fight the entire game, but couldn’t close the gap, losing by nine (51-60).  

After a hard-fought battle, #4 MaKennin Roach finished the game with 14 points.  

#23 Charlotte Farrell adding nine.  

The girls’ next game is on Apr. 13 and 14 at Catholic Central High School.  

u19 Belleville Spirits at Bayside Secondary School.

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.