Eastern focuses on qualifying for OFSAA

AROUND THE BEND: Eastern Commerce’s Sami Hill swings around Oakwood’s Barbara Johnson to penetrate the Barons key for a quick layup.

Opening playoff game a slow but steady win for senior Saints

It was All Saints Day for Eastern Commerce.

The senior girls basketball squad, led by their youth movement, Oonagh Webster and Kate Hill, overcame a hungry Barons roster to win 56-40 on Nov. 1.

“There wasn’t really much to the scheme, we’ve played these guys twice already, and we know what they do — that made us successful the last game,” said E-Comm coach Kareem Griffin.

With OFSAA in their sights, the Saints are looking to give their rookies some experience.

“Those girls, when it comes time for OFSAA, we’re going to need them,” he said. “We had to incorporate them now to give them some minutes.”

E-Comm captain Sami Hill echoed that pride in her teammates.

“They got to start this game, so I think it’s a big confidence booster going into the playoffs because we will definitely need them, “ she said. “If they can just keep playing like this, they will definitely be a big asset heading into bigger games.”

Still the ladies let Oakwood maintain a close game, especially at the end of the third quarter with the score tight at 38-36.

“I think we just realized it was time to go and if we wanted to win this game we had to do everything we could in the last quarter because we let it be a close game the whole time,” Hill said.

For the Barons it turned out to be one of the best games all year, as coach Nathaniel Mitchell had just taken his post two weeks prior for former coach David McDonald.

Captain Barbara Johnson noted the change at the helm had little change on the morale of the team, as the team adapted quickly to Mitchell, an Oakwood alumnus who attended an American college on a basketball scholarship.

“I thought we played extremely hard today, one of our better games — we came out ready to play,” Mitchell said. “We’ve basically been starting from scratch.

“We’ve gotten a lot better over time, just trying to change habits.”

Leading the way for Oakwood were Johnson, Fadzai Masvosva and grade 9 Brigette Sharp.

“I think our bench gave us a great lift in terms of energy,” Mitchell said. “We were really prepared today.”

Experience proved to be the edge in the semi-final tilt, Griffin said, and it’s an asset that will help as the team drives deeper into the playoffs.

“We know we have played more games than they have, so we know this based on experience and conditioning that we’d be able to overcome them,” he said.

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