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Manitoba female basketball squad loses to Ontario in Games debut

JUSTIN SAMANSKI-LANGILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Team Manitoba's Lauren Bartlett prepares to shoot during Saturday's basketball game against Ontario</p>

JUSTIN SAMANSKI-LANGILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Team Manitoba's Lauren Bartlett prepares to shoot during Saturday's basketball game against Ontario

Suffering a prime-time Saturday night defeat wasn't how Manitoba's female basketball squad planned its 2017 Canada Summer Games debut.

The hosts were strong through the opening half but sagged in the second en route to a 70-60 loss to Ontario at University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre.

Manitoba will take on Saskatchewan on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. at the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre (CGSLC).

Lauren Bartlett, 15, a spitfire point guard who begins Grade 11 at Oak Park High School in September, said the disappointment of the opening setback hasn't shaken the club's resolve.

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Suffering a prime-time Saturday night defeat wasn't how Manitoba's female basketball squad planned its 2017 Canada Summer Games debut.

The hosts were strong through the opening half but sagged in the second en route to a 70-60 loss to Ontario at University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre.

Manitoba will take on Saskatchewan on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. at the Canada Games Sport for Life Centre (CGSLC).

Lauren Bartlett, 15, a spitfire point guard who begins Grade 11 at Oak Park High School in September, said the disappointment of the opening setback hasn't shaken the club's resolve.

"I take this game as a reality check in a way," said Bartlett, who had 10 points for Manitoba. "We are not done yet. We know we still have a chance for gold and I definitely believe it's attainable. This game got away from us but it will really motivate us to try even harder the next time and, hopefully, we'll see them in the semifinals or the final and give it back to them."

Bartlett, just 5-foot-4, said combatting Ontario's superior size proved difficult.

"They're such a physically dominating team and we were smaller than them," she said. "It was all about the physicality part. We tried really hard but against their bigger players they were super hard to contain."

Niyah Becker paced the host squad with 20 points.

Manitoba led 11-3 just three minutes in, but Ontario but stormed back and trailed 15-14 by the time the first quarter was over. At the half, Manitoba was down 31-30 but in the third quarter things started to slip away.

"We took it to them right away and shook them up early," said Manitoba head coach Alyssa Grant. "We've got all the pieces to beat them but it's about putting them together. We had small stints throughout the game where we allowed too many offensive rebounds and that would put them up by two or by four and all those small pieces led to a bigger deficit at the end of the game than we could fight back from."

Thrilling triumph

Over at the CGSLC, Noah Dornn broke an 83-83 tie with a driving lay-up with 28 seconds left and then sunk a free throw to propel Manitoba to an 88-83 victory over Nova Scotia in the male division Saturday night.

The 6-4, 190-pound Winnipegger finished with 18 points and three assists, while teammate Kyler Filewich pulled down 18 rebounds and added eight assists.

Manitoba was down 44-39 to Nova Scotia after the first half, followed by a back-and-forth second half.

"We took a lead in the first quarter and then gave it all back, and then they went on some runs and we stayed with it," said head coach Grant Richter. "The kids were fantastic. I'm really impressed with our mental toughness and the way we hung in there against a very tough team and executed down the stretch."

 

Manitoba battles Ontario on Sunday at 5:45 p.m. at the Duckworth Centre.

Boys of summer

Manitoba's baseball team ran roughshod over Nova Scotia at Elmwood Giants Field in its first test of the Games on Saturday evening, posting an 11-1 victory in five innings.

Tristan Peters of Winkler had a pair of hits and drove in two runs, while Ethan Walpole of Winnipeg reached base four times and scored three runs for the winners. Starting pitcher Noah Geekie of Strathclair worked four-and-a-third innings, allowing one run on six hits to record the win.

Manitoba meets Newfoundland-Labrador on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Whittier Park.

 

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Read more by Jason Bell.

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