Trojans dominate Warriors on way to final
High school girls' provincial No. 1 seed rests regulars after building big early lead
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This article was published 16/03/2017 (2206 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Vincent Massey Trojans come at you with star power, a deep bench and a determination to get the job done.
On Thursday night at Investors Group Athletic Centre, the Trojans had all phases of their game working during an 81-34 varsity girls’ semifinal win over the Westwood Warriors at the Milk Provincial AAAA High School Basketball Championships.
The Trojans will meet Oak Park in Monday’s final at 6 p.m. The No. 2 Raiders advanced with a a 68-45 semifinal win over the No. 3 Sisler Spartans.
Niyah Becker, a 6-1 forward who runs the floor like a point guard, scored a game-high 18 points on eight of 11 shooting.
She pulled down five rebounds and blocked three shots as No. 1 Massey made quick work of the fourth-seeded Warriors.
Trojans coach Stacy Hawash went to her bench early and often, using all 15 players on her roster.
The Warriors, hampered by the absence of injured starters Bettina Shyllon (torn Achilles), Shemenu Dayassa (sprained LCL) and Emily Dewey (torn ACL), fell behind 16-0 before Teigan Peters ended Westwood’s scoring drought with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Shyllon will play at the University of Manitoba next fall while Dewey has accepted a Division I scholarship at Nebraska-Omaha.
“They definitely worked and it showed in the score,” Trojans coach Tracy Hawash said.
“I know that Westwood was short some players but, I mean, we were able to run when we needed to run and execute what we needed to do.”
The Warriors got a 12-point performance from Meagan Cancilla but ran out of gas early. Becker led Massey with 19:46 of floor time.
Deborah Nkiasi, with 10 points and four rebounds, Taylor Kleysen, with nine points and five rebounds, and Vanessa Lee, with seven points and eight rebounds, added to the relentless Vincent Massey attack.
“We went in with a game plan though and we executed,” Westwood coach Sarah Lundgren said. She used a six-player rotation with three starters playing the entire game.
“The girls did not give up for 40 minutes — so I can’t be disappointed in how my team showed up on the floor today.
“I was really proud of what they did. Obviously, the result is not what we wanted but with the injuries that we had and not being able to practise enough with the girls… it didn’t obviously fall in our favour.”
A rested-looking Becker was enjoying Massey’s return to the final.
The Trojans lost in last season’s title game and Hawash coached the school’s provincial champions in 2014, 2010 and 2009.
“Yeah, I think any step on the way to the final is worth celebrating,” Becker said. “We still have some work to do… We had some ups and downs, but when we had our downs we talked about what was going on and brought them back up.”
Added Trojans starting guard Marine Paquet: “We need to work harder on D because we didn’t work enough; we could do better.”
Was the lopsided victory good preparation for Monday’s final?
“Yeah, I think so,” Hawash said. “Everyone got to touch the ball, everyone got on the floor. We got to see what we can do.”
Raiders 68, Spartans 45
Oak Park broke open a close game by outscoring the two-time defending champs 23-9 in the third quarter, en route to the final.
Claire Signatovich led the winners with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
Limiting Sisler star guard Raizel Guinto to 24 points on nine of 32 shooting — but only four points in the second half — was crucial.
Guinto was just four of 16 from behind the three-point arc.
“We made good decisions, we got the ball inside to Claire,” Raiders coach Murray Brown said.
“She went to work and we finally hit some shots. In the first half, we struggled to hit threes. We had a couple of threes (in the third quarter) and opened up the gap.”
Brown was asked what kind of problems Massey is likely to present in the final.
“They’re just really talented,” he said. “They’re big, they’re athletic, they’re long bodies and yeah, they’re a real good team,” Brown said. “We’ve had some battles with them this year… We’re 3-1 against them but they whupped us pretty good last game.”
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @sawa14
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.