By Lawrence Powell
In a back-and-forth, edge-of-your-seat final, the Middleton Regional High School Monarchs edged Springhill 54-52 to take the NSSAF Division 3 Girls Basketball Provincial Championships Saturday.
The contest was undecided even in the dying seconds as the lead change half a dozen times in the final two minutes.
Erica Theisen paced the Monarchs with 18 points, Sydney Smith had 12, and Lauren Wentzell picked up 11. This trio, along with Sage Dixon in the semi-final, accounted for most of Middleton’s points over three games. Wing/guard Toni Jewer-Pineau managed 16 points for the tournament.
“This one was really tough,” said Monarchs coach Greg Bower moments after the MRHS girls were presented with the provincial banner. “We knew Springhill had a very explosive offense. They shoot the ball very well, a lot of three-point shooters, and they drive well. Our goal was to pressure them but not foul them. And we did a pretty good job of that. We’re really happy with how the kids responded to that and it was one of those games that was back and forth, back and forth – in doubt the whole way. But we sort of stayed with our game plan and did what we intended to do. To hold them to 52 points was quite a chore because they are a really high-scoring team. So we were really please with the effort we did defensively and made some outside shots that we haven’t always made, so it was nice.”
A Pair Of Wins
The third-seed Monarchs made the final by defeating sixth-seed Cape Breton Highlands Academy Huskies 64-29 at 6 p.m. on Thursday. That put them against King’s Edgehill Saints at 8 p.m. on Friday where the Middleton girls won 56-37.
The first-seed Springhill High School Eagles romped to an 80-22 win over the eight-seed Barrington Barons on Thursday in the nightcap, and downed the Dalbrae Dragons 67-56 on Friday to put them in Saturday’s final against Middleton.
Bower was pleased with the support the girls received. “Every time I looked today there were more and more people in the gym,” he said, “It was a great community thing. It was really nice.”
Second Provincial Title
Saturday’s win marked the second consecutive year the Monarch girls have taken home the provincial banner, and Bower said next year’s squad should be solid.
“We’re losing six,” Bower. “We’ve got one international student and five Grade 12s. And we’ve got 16 on the team to start with so we have quite a few still returning. We’re going to be strong next year. All our big people are back – our three big kids that we start are back. We have some guards in the wings who didn’t play today but will play. We expect to be in the running for a three-peat, yes we do.”
Gone next will be playmaker Jewer-Pineau, one of the top Monarch players in the tournament, as well as Jennifer Adams, Maridith Brown, Tara Armstrong, and Dixon. Wentzell, Theisen, and Smith will all be returning players.
Assisting Bower on the bench is Nick Baskwill with Stephen Baskwill organizing the provincial tournament and Bob Sanford as official score keeper.
Cape Breton Highlands 42 - Ainsley Ross 4, Eilidh Ross 8, Maia Murphy 10, Taylor Boudreau-Deveaux 2, Cassey Deveau 15, Eva Mustard 2
Barrington 38 - Nicole Atkinson 2, Faith Bower 3, Haley Waybret 1, Sienna Devine 3, Cagla Sezgin 20, Caleigh Bellivrau 5, Brittany Atwood 2, Duane Christie 2
New Germany 66 - Kaylee Hyson 3, Emma Delong 4, Emma Bruhm 16, Janelle Hebb 2, Hailey Langille 2, Taylor Bruhm 2, Emma Sue Wagner 31, Katherine Porter 4, Abbey Doucette 2
Carrefour 54 - Savannah Provo 16, Rachel Howlett 13, Nadia Landry 4, Ariel Provo 21
Third place - Bronze
Dalbrae 50 - Riley Beaton 5, Carli Spears 5, Riley van den Heuvel 6, Molly MacEachern 10, Darcie Wilson 14, Hannah Beaton 1, Ali Maclean 2, Shelby Rouse 2, Brianna Dunn 5 Kings-Edgehill 40 - Maria Laforce 1, Catherine Rutledge 7, Lucy Killacky 2, Anna Killacky 4, Rachel Huntington 7, Josette Simboro 7, Primrose Chareka 12
Championship game - Gold/Silver
Middleton 54 - Toni Jewer-Pineau 4, Jennifer Adams 2, Erica Theisen 18, Maridith Brown 2, Lauren Wentzell 11, Sage Dixon 5, Sydney Smith 12
Springhill 52 - Mallory Thompson 3, Stephanie McCormick 6, Brenna Casey 2, Sydnee Balser 18, Kylee Balser 10, Rachel Terris 13
Thursday, Feb. 27
Game 3 Middleton’s Opener
Middleton 63 - Toni Jewer-Pineau 4, Jennifer Adams 2, Alaina Britney 3, Erica Theisen 13, Tara Armstrong 2, Lauren Wentzell 11, Anika Mensing 1, Eden Burke 4, Sydney Smith 21, Martina MacKinnon 1
Cape Breton Highlands 29 - Emily Mackay 2, Eilidh Ross 6, Maia Ross 5, Taylor Boudreau-Deveaux 3, Cassey Deveau 5, Ali Doucet 2, Hayley MacDonald 6
Game 7 Semi-final
Springhill 67 - Mallory Thompson 11, Stephanie McCormick 8, Brenna Casey 3, Jordyn Tannahill 4, Sydnee Balser 33, Rachel Terris 8
Dalbrae 56 - Brianna Dunn 11, Riley Beaton 16, Laurel MacDonald 4, Carli Spears 6, Riley van den Heuvel 9, Molly MacEachern 2, Darcie Wilson 8,
Game 8 Semi-final
Middleton 56 - Toni Jewer-Pineau 8, Erica Theisen 7, Lauren Wentzell 14, Sage Dixon 11, Sydney Smith 16
Kings-Edgehill 37 - Catherine Rutledge 7, Lucy Killacky 6, Anna Killacky 2, Josette Simboro 10, Primrose Chareka 12