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Knights Win More Hoops Tournament Championship; Nurse Named MVP



The game was highlighted by a 26-point performance by tournament MVP, Kia Nurse (6’0”, G, St Thomas More, 2014) of the Knights. Christina Buttenham (5’11”, F, St Mary’s, 2014) led the Crusaders with 18-points as her team fell short.

The tournament Final, was yet another chapter in the rivalry between these two schools, which are easily considered the premier teams in 2012 high school basketball in Ontario. Earlier this season, St Thomas More lost to St Mary in the Final of the St Mary Tournament, so the Knights were keen on defending their home tournament.

But, despite how intense the games can get between these two teams, there was a great deal of respect incorporated into how the Knights’ Head Coach, Blaize DiSabatino, prepared for this game.

“St Mary’s is an outstanding team. They’re an outstanding shooting team…probably one of the best in the province, if not THE best in the province. So, it was all about limiting their looks from outside and making sure that every one of them were contested and making sure that every basket that they got, they had to work for.”

Hard work from both teams was the theme right from the opening tip, as both teams looked to gain the early lead. More’s Nurse, got her team off to a hot start, nailing two 3-pointers. Keeping up with her, blow for blow, was St Mary’s Buttenham who also nailed two 3-pointers to help the Crusaders keep pace. With this happening in the opening minutes of the game, one got the sense that neither of these teams was prepared to hold anything back. By the end of the First Quarter, the fast paced physical game saw St Thomas More take a slim 20-17 lead.

The Knights then started to exploit some key defensive breakdowns in the Crusaders’ defense, namely their inability to contain Nurse. Not only was she scoring from range and successfully driving through the defense while absorbing contact, she was also engaging the rest of her team. While running the point position, she did a very good job involving her teammates by creating opportunities for them. In doing so, contributions at the other end of the floor were seen time and time again as the Knights were able to get defensive stops especially throughout the Second Quarter where they outscored St Mary’s 20-4, and enjoyed a 40-21 halftime lead. A lead and game plan they would maintain the rest of the way for the win.

Coach DiSabatino’s tactic of contesting everything, paid off.

“We just tried to not allow anything that was easy. They’re good. They’re going to get their stuff we just didn’t want to allow anything that was easy, and make them work for everything.”

On top of the built in incentive to win their home tournament, the St Thomas More Head Coach, identified a bit more incentive for the victory.

Celina Botts shares More Hoops Championship trophy with teammates after win

“This tournament was extremely important to our team. It was dedicated to Mallory’s sister Sydney, so our team had a lot of motivation to go out there and play their best and I felt, and the team agreed and felt that we kind of had a sixth man out there with us,” said DiSabatino, who incorporated a fitting tribute throughout the tournament to the sudden passing of the Sydney Wood, sister of Knight Guard Mallory Wood, throughout the tournament. “Things were falling for us, things were going our way, so I think we had Sydney out there helping us today.”

Winning the More Hoops Tournament is a major milestone in the Ontario High School season. And, with the ‘AAA’ and ‘AAAA’ Provincial winner coming from the Hamilton area, DiSabatino sees this and the other Hamilton tournaments as a way to look past geographical limitations, and assemble the strongest field possible.

“With our tournament, the St Mary’s tournament and the Westdale tournament, we try to get as many of the top teams as we possibly can. Unfortunately, OFSAA is a regional based tournament so, maybe some of the best teams don’t even get to participate in that. This is a nice opportunity where you can have a whole bunch of teams from one area participate in a tournament and really try to get the best of the best.”

Tournament Individual Awards

Tournament MVP – Kia Nurse
Tournament All-Star Team – Emily Wilk (5’9″, G, Loyola, 2013), Shay Colley (5’8″, G, St Edmund Campion, 2014), Hilary Hanaka (5’9″, G, St Mary’s, 2014), Christina Buttenham, Celina Botts (5’10”, G, St Thomas More, 2013)

Tournament Results

October 12, 2012

St Thomas More 57 – Waterdown 8
Westdale 51 – St Jean De Brebeuf 49
Loyola 43 – Notre Dame 30
St Anne’s 64 – Huron Heights 18
Bishop Tonnos 59 – Holy Trinity 50
St Mary’s 58 – Sarnia Northern 28
St John’s 41 – Bill Crothers 58
St Edmund Campion 41 – Waterloo 39

October 13, 2013

St Anne’s 54 – Waterdown 24
St Thomas More defeated Huron Heights (default)
Loyola 36 – St Jean De Brebeuf 31
Westdale 55 – Notre Dame 22
Waterdown 40 – Huron Heights 27
St Thomas More 54 – St Anne’s 39
St Jean De Brebeuf 36 – Notre Dame 35
Loyola 43 – Westdale 39
St Mary’s 58 – Bill Crothers 49
St John’s 52 – Sarnia Northern 38
Bishop Tonnos 52 – Waterloo 41
St Edmund Campion 48 – Holy Trinity 28
St Mary’s 51 – St John’s 26
Bill Crothers 54 – Sarnia Northern 34
Waterloo 51 – Holy Trinity 45
St Edmund Campion 40 – Bishop Tonnos 29

October 14, 2012
Semi-Final #1 – St Thomas More 61- Loyola 53 (Kia Nurse 33 points – Emily Wilk 15 points)
Semi-Final #2 – St Mary’s 56 – St Edmund Campion 33 (Christina Buttenham 19 points – Shay Colley 15 points)
Championship – St Thomas More 62 – St Mary’s 50 (Kia Nurse 26 points – Christina Buttenham 18 points)