Sports

TRIB TOURNEY: Crosstown rivals

By Bernd Franke, Postmedia News

Alexandra Klauck of the Lakeshore Gators beats Allyce Andrews of the Port Colborne Bears to the rebound during the Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament at Port Colborne High School on Thursday. (Julie Jocsak/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia News)

Alexandra Klauck of the Lakeshore Gators beats Allyce Andrews of the Port Colborne Bears to the rebound during the Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament at Port Colborne High School on Thursday. (Julie Jocsak/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia News)

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Port Colborne’s West Side Story in girls high school basketball didn’t have a happy ending for host Port High.

Instead of Good Looks and the Blue Bears, Port High became the earliest casualty at the 14th Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament, dropping a 44-26 decision to their crosstown rivals from the city’s east side, the Lakeshore Catholic Gators.

Players from both teams carried the pressure of different expectations onto the court with them for Thursday’s consolation quarter-final.

Port High, playing in front of a capacity crowd that was overwhelmingly made up of friends, schoolmates and family and being serenaded by the high school’s drum band, wanted to reward that support by excelling on their home court.

Lakeshore, with a much larger student body from which to draw players, needed to live up to its billing as a triple A team that would not lose to a single A rival in a must-win game.

Maddi Wilcox, who topped the Gators in scoring with 11 points and was named her team’s player of the game, said Lakeshore has been “up and down” so far this season.

“We have our good games, we have our bad games,” the Grade 12 student said. “Today was a good game.”

She said there’s always something special whenever Port Colborne’s two high schools play each other.

“There is lots of competition between both,” Wilcox said. “I have friends from both schools, so we were kind of going against each other.

“That’s kind of hard, but you just put the feelings aside and play.”

She felt that as the host and as the team from the smaller school there’s was more pressure on the Blue Bears than there was on the Gators.

Victoria Fraser, whose game-high 16 points earned her player of the game honours for Port High, said she “personally” didn’t feel any pressure.

“They’re all my friends, some of my best friends are on that team,” she said. “I had fun, and I think my team had fun.”

Head coach Barclay Walker addressed the “double pressure” of playing at home and facing Lakeshore with the Blue Bears before the game.

“I told them they had to play their game, that they couldn’t worry about what was going on off the court,” he said. “They can’t worry about what the other team does, that we have to play our game the best that we could.”

Despite the final score Walker took a lot of positives from the game. He liked the way the the Blue Bears played defence and praised a high level of energy that didn’t wane, even in the late going.

“We’re struggling with offence,” Walker said. “We’re having a problem getting some offensive opportunities going.”

“I’m happy with the defence, but it’s offence and moving the ball to the right place.”

Port High missed many more shots than it hit and would have advanced to the semifinal round had it hit even half of them.

“But that’s the nature of basketball, what are you going to do about it?” he said. “It’s not a mechanical thing to correct, it’s not a strategy to correct, it’s just the shots not going in.”

Aggressive defence on Lakeshore’s part contributed to Port High’s low success rate draining shots from close range and from beyond the three-point arc.

“I think the Lakeshore defence did a good job in rushing us.”

Lakeshore will play the Governor Simcoe Redcoats in a 3:30 p.m. semifinal at Welland Centennial with a berth in Saturday night’s B final on the line.

Simcoe defeated the Ridley College Tigers 36-32 while the other semifinal pits the Grimsby Eagles against the Saint Michael Mustangs.

Grimsby defeated the E.L. Crossley Cyclone and Saint Michael eliminated the Saint Paul Patriots 48-29.

Bulldogs 49, Cougars 36

The Sir Winston Church Bulldogs are among four teams that are undefeated heading into the third round of the 14th Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament in south Niagara.

However, as far as party poopers go, they are the undisputed No. 1.

A day after defeating the E.L. Crossley Cyclone on their home court, the Bulldogs did the same thing at Welland Centennial against the host Cougars.

Kaley DeMont scored a team-high 14 points, all but two from beyond the three-point arc, Ally Sentance 10 and Olivia Kreiger nine to send Centennial to the sidelines and Churchill to the championship semifinals.

The Zone 4 Bulldogs don’t play the Zone 3 Cougars during the regular season, but Centennial wasn’t an unknown quantity to Churchill.

“We knew that they can shoot and they drive a lot because they are bigger than us,” DeMont said. “As soon as started driving, we knew we had to shut down their bigs and box out.”

She said Centennial’s aggressive defence forced the Bulldogs to adjust their game plan.

“We had to pass more and just move the ball around.”

Head coach Phil Mosley said while the Cougars would have liked to go, they nonetheless accomplished a lot by advancing on the championship of the bracket.

“We feel like winning our first game puts us in with the upper echelon of the tournament,” he said. “That’s where we belong, but we just lost to a team that’s very strong.

“We knew they were tough coming in.”

Catherine Maltais and Destiny Paquin led Centennial in scoring with 16 and 13 points, respectively.

Flyers 58, Marauders 50

Recent history won’t be repeating itself at the 14th edition of the Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament.

Unlike last year, when the Jean Vanier Lynx swept both the Tribune and the Standard Tournament in St. Catharines, there won’t be a double winner this time out.

The Eden Flyers made sure of that when they upset the second-seeded A.N. Myer Marauders in championship quarter-final action Thursday night at Welland Centennial.

Jeniah Wiens, with 16 points; Rachel Frena, 14; Mady Weinert, 11; and Beth deBoer, nine; led a balanced Eden attack on offence.

Julia Colavecchia and Tori Rigas-DiDomenico paced Standard Tournament gold medallist Myer with 21 and 20 points, respectively.

Thursday’s late championship quarter-final had the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish playing the Denis Morris Reds, and the Vanier taking on the Greater Fort Erie Gryphons.

bfranke@postmedia.com