After beating Saints in South Regions, the Red Knights drop TDSSAA final
For the past three years, a saga has taken place in both the halls of Northern SS and Eastern Commerce.
The two senior girls basketball teams have tangled in a seesaw battle for city domination.
Since winning an OFSAA-qualifying game in 2009, 46–40, and subsequently being decimated in the 2010 Citys 81–17 at the hands of the Saints, Northern and E-Comm have been at war.
Nov. 15, 2011 just etched another chapter in the AAAA annals, with Northern seeing their rivals in the title game.
Only three members of the 2010 team remain, captain McKenzie Sigurdson, Jelena Sibalija and Siobhan Powell.
And on this day, the Red Knights would be thwarted in the pursuit for the city grail, losing 61–31.
“I think that our shots just weren’t falling, to be truthful,” Sigurdson said after the game. “If we went shot-for-shot with them it could have been a close game.
“Eastern, I tip my hat to them, they played a great game today,” she added. “They were the best team here.”
Though Sigurdson dropped 17 points, she was the only one on the team in the double digits while E-Comm’s big three: Sami Hill, Vaneil Simpson and Bilie Grant countered with 16, 20 and 22 points respectively.
Grant, who was unable to play in the Citys last year after transferring from Father Henry Carr, fulfilled her dream of going to OFSAA.
“For me, last year I was ineligible for this game, so coming in, playing in this game, I came with a hunger,” she said. “Also we lost to them by one point, which really hurt.”
When she mentions a loss, it was the South Region final Nov. 3, where the Red Knights won 59–58.
“We had some problems that we mended, so it felt good to come together as a team and win this game,” Grant said.
Her coach, Kareem Griffin, took the title game as a chance to prove their worth.
“It was a little bit of a redemption for us,” he said. “We knew that we were a better team — we didn’t showcase that when we were in the South Region finals — these girls wanted to prove to the city that we were the number one team out here.”
Though Hill, the Saints captain, ran into foul trouble early, she scored a bulk of her points in the second half.
“We knew we were going to need her,” Griffin said. “We were only up by about 15, so in my estimation that could go both ways.”
In the face of a potent E-Comm roster, Northern did not lose their focus.
“Making sure that we leave everything on the floor and playing our hearts out is the only thing we can control and I’m proud of the girls for doing that today,” Sigurdson said.
Her coach, Bryan McAlpine, channeled his inner Dude, going to the well-known Joel and Ethan Coen movie for his quote.
“It’s like in The Big Lebowski, ‘Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you’.”
Joking aside, the effort put forth by his charges went unnoticed in the final score.
“I don’t think the score reflected the way they played,” he said. “We got a lot of good looks that didn’t fall.
“Our hats are off to Eastern, they played really well,” McAlpine added. “They made a lot of looks and the difference between this game and last game was we found a way to answer them in every way, but today they were just a better team.”
To end on a positive note, no backdoor game was needed for Northern, as both the teams qualify for OFSAA held in Windsor, Nov. 23–26.