Westwood faces tall task taking on Vincent Massey in girl’s high school hoops
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This article was published 14/03/2017 (2208 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Westwood Warriors will have to dig deep if they want to win a provincial basketball title.
Westwood, the No. 4-seeded varsity girls squad at this week’s Milk Provincial AAAA High School Basketball Championships, will face the No. 1 Vincent Massey Trojans, a deep and talented bunch, in semifinal action at Investors Group Athletic Centre Thursday night.
What’s more, the Warriors will be without three key contributers who are currently sidelined with major injuries. Guard Shemenu Dayassa has sprained ligament in her left knee, forward Emily Dewey has a torn ACL and point guard Bettina Shyllon is out with a torn Achilles tendon.
The leaves Warriors coach with Sarah Lundgren with a six-player rotation and she’ll have to supplement practices this week with some call-ups from the school’s junior varsity squad. Westwood was ranked as high as second in the province earlier this season.
“When we were full rostered and learning everything and really coming into our own, it was just so much fun to be a part of,” said Lundgren at a press conference to unveil the provincial final four Tuesday. “I’m not saying it isn’t now but to see these girls come together and play the game at the calibre they were playing was amazing to watch.”
Dayassa, hurt early in a 49-40 quarter-final win over the Dakota Lancers on Saturday, tried to play through the pain.
“I can barely walk, I have to wear this big brace,” said Dayassa, managing a smile. “I got off right away and then played around with my knee a bit and I was like, ‘I can play.’ I got back on the court and my knee just gave out on me.”
Vincent Massey forward Taylor Kleyson insists the Warriors remain a big challenge.
“All these teams are really well matched,” said Kleyson, a dual volleyball-basketball athlete yet to determine which sport she will play at the university level. “I think it’s going to come down to who’s willing to work the hardest and with grit at the end. Because it really is a tough battle.”
Massey coach Stacy Hawash was asked if Westwood’s depleted roster will affect her approach to Thursday’s semi, which starts at 6 p.m. at the U of M’s Investors Group Athletic Centre.
“No, I don’t,” said Hawash, whose club lost the provincial title game to the Sisler Spartans in 2016. “At this point it’s playoffs and it’s provincials. Our kids want to play a game, right? Getting out there and working hard and running the floor, I mean, that’s our style of game. It’s not going to change.”
The winner of the Massey-Westwood matchup goes on to face the winner of No. 3 Sisler and the No. 2 Oak Park Raiders. Game time Thursday is 7 p.m.
The varsity girls final is slated for Monday at 6 p.m.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.