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Knights Leave Little Doubt In Winning OFSAA 4A Title



The St Thomas More Knights capped the end of a highly successful season with an Ontario High School Championship (OFSAA) 4A win over the St. John’s College Green Eagles by a score of 48-31 in Windsor.

On one side of the court, you had the St John’s Green Eagles out of Brantford.  Earning the second of the Central Western beths to the Championships, behind Waterloo, they were this year’s Cinderella team.  From their eleventh seed they faced no team seeded lower than sixth throughout their five games.  After already loosing their opening round matchup against St. Thomas More, they defeated the sixth ranked Pickering Trojans, the third ranked Westdale Warriors, and the second ranked Mother Teresa Spartans to force this rematch for Gold.

On the other, you have the team that everybody had been talking about as Provincial favorites since the beginning of the season, the St. Thomas More Knights.  And with their play this season to backing up a lot of those predictions, them receiving the number one seed seemed like only a formality.  They were 12-0 in their regular season, won multiple tournaments, and had won the right to represent what may very well be the strongest region in the province, the Greater Hamilton Area (GHAC).

“They worked extremely hard all year”, said Knights Head Coach, Blaize DiSabatino. “Once you start winning games, you have a big target on you. And once everyone thinks you’re number one its hard to stay there.  The girls showed a lot of character and a lot of maturity everytime we went on the floor.”

The poise Coach DiSabatino speaks of was evident by the Knights right from the very beginning of this Gold Medal game as they jumped out to an early 8-0 lead.  Throughout the opening quarter, Danielle Boiago did a very good job pushing the pace of the game and converting her drives to the basket.  The Green Eagle’s inability to stop Boiago, even putting on the line where she went 4-4 in the opening quarter set the tone early as the Knights surged out to a 12-2 by the end of the First Quarter.

Aggressive play by Knights’ star Kia Nurse, in the 2nd Quarter earned her 3rd foul sending her to the bench.  The move seemed to open up opportunities for the Green Eagles, who actually managed to win the quarter 10-8, yet still found themselves down 20-12 at half-time.

St John’s Forward Katie Polischuk was doing everything that she could in order to be able to close the gap scoring 7 of her 17 total in the first half. From the perimeter she did a fair bit of ball handling, and managed to do a good job in distributing the ball, especially when she drew double teams.  But, whenever she found herself inside the paint, she was continually to suffocated by the Knights’ swarming team defense.  DiSabatino’s game plan was being well executed.  “Katie Polischuk is an outstanding player, so we were trying to minimize her touches on the ball. We were just trying to focus on them only getting one contested shot and then it was to be our ball again.”

In indicating as such, the St Thomas More transition game was in full effect after cleaning up after those contested St John’s shots.  Stemming from their guard play, they had the upper hand with speed, ball handling and the ability to knock down open shots on this day.  This is how Nurse excelled, scoring 13 of her game high 19 in the second half.

To their credit, the Green Eagles showed that they were good long distance shooters as evidenced by them hitting as many Field Goals as they did 3-pointers throughout the game. But in the end they were unable to solve the Knights’ defense for a better completion ratio. Any off target attempts were often not followed up by second chance attempts because of St. Thomas More’s rebounding.

For DiSabatino, defense was all a part of the Championship formula. “I think that we focused on our defense. We played probably our best defense in the last three games of the tournament. That was our focus all year round.  The kids really executed, and we just played really good defense that was kind of the key to our success.”

Despite the perception of a team with a couple of standouts leading the way, DiSabatino wanted to dispel the notion.  Having gotten the best of her collective throughout the Championships, she had accolades for the whole team.
“When everyone thinks of St Thomas More, they think of Danielle Boiago and Kia Nurse. But truly, anyone that saw us play this week knows that this was a total team effort from start to finish.  We had kids step up in certain games on the scoring end and on the defensive end. So, not just a couple players…total team effort!”

The jubilant More Head Coach went on to wrap up the day by saying, “This win feels great! Well deserved by the kids. They worked extremely hard all year.”

The  St. Thomas More Knights were led in scoring in this game by Kia Nurse’s 19 points and Danielle Boiago’s 17.  The St. John’s College Green Eagles were led by Katie Polischuk’s 17 and Megan Piette’s 11.

-See the complete list of 2011 OFSAA 4A scores

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