With two tactical coaches at the helm of each team, the game was one that relied quite heavily on the making of adjustments and getting their players to sustain any momentum, as much as possible. In the end, a 12 point contribution from the Saint’s Meighen Boyd (5’10”, G/F, 2013) and a big second quarter proved to be too costly for the Warriors to overcome.
Both teams boasted deadly outside shooting, and the sharp shooting was on display early in the game. Westdale’s Jayanne Gaunt (6’1″, Wing, 2013) got her team rolling in the First Quarter hitting four 3-pointers guiding her team to a 18-10 end of Quarter lead. In the Quarter, Meihgen Boyd aimed to keep the Saints in striking distance, answering a couple of Gaunt’s long balls herself with two 3-pointers of her own in that opening fame.
It was at that point the game plan St Anne wanted to implement was not going to be as effective as first thought.
“What we wanted on scores was to kind of have kind of like a half court trap”, said St Anne Coach, Andy Kiss. “We’ll blitz the ball at the sidelines, with the rover and the strong forward and sprint back into a 2-3 zone, was the tactic we wanted to play in the beginning on a score but to their credit they were really quick in transition off the score, and it wasn’t really that effective.”
Although the shooting was hot by their opponents, the message in the huddle for the Saints was to tighten up on defense, and the momentum would be theirs on offence.
“We talked about closing out the kids hard at the perimeter because they do have some good three ball shooters”, Kiss went on to say. “We made the adjustments we needed to make to get back in. I thought that their energy level really picked up too. I think its positive energy begets positive energy. We won the Second Quarter 19-5, they won the First 18-10. So, we carried a 6-point lead into half time.”
The Second Quarter was a big one for the Saints as a couple of key stops, followed up with some scores helped to shift momentum into their favor. Boyd connected on two more 3-pointers in the Quarter and Amanda Milanis (5’5″, PG, 2014) connected on one of her own. The Saints began to also take advantage of a bit of a size advantage in the paint with contributions from Alana Gyemi (5’9″, F, 2013) and Nadya Morrow (5’9″, F, 2013) which helped to lift them to a 29-23 advantage at Halftime.
“We kind of battled back in the Second Quarter”, said St Anne Wing player, Meighen Boyd. “We put on a lot of pressure and I ended up making a lot of my shots, then everyone else started making their shots. We started playing more as a team.”
Westdale however would not go down without a fight. Although the scoring from both sides did slow down, the Warriors began chipping away at the lead with a 3-pointer from Alexis Spadafora (5’9″, G, 2013) as part of her 6 point 3rd Quarter. Increased takes to the basket proved successful for them, setting up for all to play for, with the Second Ranked team having closed the gap to one, 34-33 heading into the last Quarter.
Unfortunately for Westdale, that would be as close as they would come, as St Anne held on to enough breathing room throughout the Fourth Quarter to secure the win.
“We maintained the separation, built it up a little bit and decided to work the clock a little bit for the victory. But, to their credit, they never quit and found a way to get back in it. We had to win with desire and will and I’m immensely proud of my kids.“
Coach Kiss deserves a lot of credit to have his team gather themselves to be mentally prepared for this game. In the Semi-Final game the night before, the St Anne Saints got beaten pretty badly by the top ranked St Thomas More Knights, dropping a 60-33 decision. Putting things into proper perspective for his team was also an important tactic for getting in the right mindset heading into the Bronze Medal game.
“I said to the kids, we weren’t won of the favorites to win the Gold Medal. So, this Bronze Medal game was not a disappointment game for us, it was a game that for us was an achievement that we really wanted. One thing I think that you have to do, I think, when you set goals is be realistic. So we knew, More was number one obviously for a reason. Yes, we took it on the chin last night, and yes, we actually gave them a better game at their home tournament, but uh, that happens in sports. And we re-grouped; got our focus back and we really wanted this Bronze Medal. So, we were so thrilled to achieve it.”
St Anne: Meighen Boyd-12 points; Nadya Morrow-10 points
Westdale: Jayanne Gaunt-14 points; Alexis Spadafora-10 points