Left to Right - Coach Josh Brown, Samara Pemberton, Kari Harding, Rebecca Deinstadt, Alexa Jacklyn, Vanessa Hartley, Brooke Acker, Megan Saulnier, Brandie Pushie, Hannah Neil
A local midget girls basketball team has brought home a championship banner after claiming gold in the Basketball Nova Scotia Division 5 Provincials held at Halifax, Nova Scotia April 4th - 6th.
Hosted at the Sexton Gym on Dalhousie Campus, the Nicky Stixx Seagulls defeated the West End Steelers 43-30 in the gold medal game, claiming the championship for the first time.
“The girls had a plan: we won bronze in our inaugural yes, silver last year when we hosted the bantam girls’ championship here in Shelburne, and they wanted gold this year. They never took it for granted – they worked hard and played smart team basketball all weekend, but they never doubted that this is how this year would end.” said Coach Josh Brown.
The lone non Halifax team scored victories over the Sackville Storm (44-29 Vanessa Hartley 10pts, Brandie Pushie 8pts), the Halifax Osprey (37-31 V. Hartley 15pts, Brooke Acker 13pts), and the West End Steelers (41-25 V. Hartley 13pts, B. Acker 12pts.) to finish undefeated in round robin action, earning the automatic bid into the Gold Medal game. Vanessa Hartley (Most Valuable Player) and Brooke Acker (Hustle Award) swept the game awards in all three games.
In the championship game, the score stayed close for the first half before the Seagulls pulled away, with a twelve to nothing run to open the third quarter. Coupled with a suffocating defence and ability to break and exploit the full court pressure of the Steelers, the Shelburne team led by double digits until the final horn. MVP for the Seagulls in the final game was Brandie Pushie. Kari Harding won the Hustle award. Vanessa Hartley narrowly claimed the Tournament Most Valuable Player over team-mate Brooke Acker.
“I am super proud of the girls – they played as a team all weekend and they have the scars and bruises to prove how hard they worked to get this championship. It is a perfect way to cap off the journey we have been on. They are champions, but more importantly, are friends. They will remember this achievement and these memories well into their adult hood. “Commented Coach Brown.
After two years under the sponsorship of Shelburne Stevedores, the team was sponsored by new business Nicky Stixx Body Piercing this year. While enjoying the jokes about team tattoos and the like, the team was very thankful to have a local business owner step up.
“When we started three years ago, the only qualification to play was to be someone who wanted to play basketball. Opportunities for females in sport dry up so much quicker than they do for males. Nicky has bought fully into our philosophy that everyone deserves to play, that everyone deserves to have the chance to play the game they love.“ said Coach Brown.
The team will have a few other events before shutting down for the year to allow players to pursue other athletic interests