Coaches, players say cohesion needed with playoffs on horizon
The halls of Runnymede were filled with Etobicoke Rams’ coach Paul Pearson’s voice.
He was giving his senior girls cagers the rundown on their 44-32 game.
Though the team won, two of his charges felt they didn’t follow the game plan set out for them on the Oct. 18 match.
Rams forward Jelena Milidragovic, chewing her lower lip, expressed the sentiment of the team post speech.
“We didn’t execute as much as we do,” she said. “Normally we have a really good game — baskets, steals, threes — but this game, we didn’t deserve what we got.”
Teammate Brandy Donkor agreed, adding the squad needs to unite if they want to advance through the playoffs.
“We need to be more aggressive and practise,” she said. “And understand what we need to execute on and play better as a team.”
On the other side of the court, Ravens coach Melanie Belgore was pleased with what she got from her rookery, in particular guard Brittania Brown, but observed the same lack of team unity Etobicoke experienced.
“We knew that they were going to press us,” she said. “We wanted to focus on breaking that press.
“We know we have a great ball handler in Brittania, but I try to get all of the girls in attack mode.”
Still, the Tier 1 West Region battle produced an aggressive match between the two teams.
Leading Etobicoke was Stephanie Antwi who was one steal away from a triple-double, putting up 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine steals. Chipping in with 10 points each were Milidragovic and post-player Jill Semple. Semple also contributed 16 boards for a double-double of her own.
In the Ravens cause, Brown had a game-high 18 points, going coast-to-coast after pulling down six defensive rebounds. She also snagged four steals and went 6/10 from the free-throw line.
With her on the hardwood was Robyn Burns who drained eight points, and pick-pocketed Rams forwards for five steals.
With the win, Etobicoke is the team to beat with a perfect 5-0 record. Runnymede falls into the middle at 2-4.
“Overall I was proud of the girls,” Belgore said. “They are a pleasure to coach because they give me 100 percent all of the time, and that’s all you can ask for.”
“That was a tough team that we played,” she added. “Obviously we were looking for a win but we’re looking to keep improving for the playoff run.”