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Pickering Holds On For 4A Consolation Title



Going into this year’s 4A Ontario High School Championships (OFSAA), the Pickering Trojans were riding a wave of promising results and appeared to have hit their stride as a team at the right time. They claimed the Durham (LOSSA) title, having beaten regional rivals, the Notre Dame Cougars leaving the team confident with their sixth seed at OFSAA.

The Trojans were faced with adversity right away, experiencing an injury to team co-captain, Taijah Campbell in their opening round win over Glebe(16) from Ottawa. The distraction, and need to execute a new game plan proved to be too much as Pickering would lose their second game to a streaking St. John’s(11) team from Brantford, relegating them to the Consolation Bracket. But with wins over Eastview(14) from Barrie and Aurora(15), they salvaged an opportunity to not go home empty handed.  To do so, another team leader would have to step up.

“I knew I had to go out there and capitalize,” claimed Trojan Center and another of Pickering’s co-captains, Becky Nash (6’4″, C, 2012), “and especially because Taijah was gone I had to go in there and put in the work that she couldn’t.” Realizing the weight now on her shoulders, she went on to say, “I had to get out there and get every rebound and literally want every shot I took to go in.”

With that do or die mentality that her and the other Trojans used, they got the early jump on the ninth seeded, St Edmund Campion Bears. While in doing so, it wasn’t the most entertaining brand of basketball to watch, it all went according to plan. “Having already played them in the Centennial Colts Tournament we knew they couldn’t match up with us inside” planned Trojan Coach Kirk Miller, looking to capitalize on Nash’s 6’4″ height and the height of 6’1″ Forward Cheyenne Creighton (6’1″, F, 2014). “Our goal was to slow the game down and get the ball inside. Initially they played zone for the first half, so we made sure to focus on swinging the ball, passing and moving while always looking inside.”. It was a move that paid off for the Trojans as they found themselves up 15-10 at the in of the 1st Quarter. And, with steady inside and outside play from Pickering’s Cheyenne Creighton who contributed 11 first half points, they found themselves up 29-20 at halftime.

If the game plan wasn’t broken, there was nothing for the Trojans to change up. After the Half-Time break, they found ways to be even more successful with their plan and took advantage of foul trouble of Bears’ starter, Genevieve Onkeya and stretched their lead even further to 44-25 at the end of 3 periods. “The whole time we were able to slow things down, and take our time bring the ball up and be able to look inside” recalled Nash who had enjoyed 14 points to that point.

But, Campion’s Coach, Nicolette Stewart, eventually gave the green light to her Bears to go into full court man-to-man coverage, and it seemed to spark new life into the Bears. Coach Miller remembers knowing it was coming and trying to prepare his team for it, but when it hit, his team was overwhelmed by what took place. “They made to adjustment to man to man which kind of shook us a bit, because throughout the game we were focusing on what was working. Once they went man to man and they really pressured us and we kind of lost focus. I told them that eventually they will make that switch, you going to have to be ready.”

The Bears’ Point Guard Shay Colley, who just recently returned from an almost one year layoff due to injury, single handedly put her team on her back forcing numerous turnovers of the Pickering Guards and upping the tempo of the game by pushing every Bears’ possession.

Sensing the big momentum swing, Nash remembers trying to calm the her team down. “When the offense stopped working, the defense started to breakdown for us. And, Shay’s always going to score points, she’s an amazing player, but during that run I remember telling our team do what you have to do: Sacrifice your body if you have to and do what you have to do for this last little bit.”

When all was said and done, the Campions Bears just simply ran out of time and their 18-3 surge in the 4th Quarter ended with them on the short side of the 45-43 final score.

For Nash, it was an very important victory. “For a lot of us this is our senior year. I just wanted to go out and give it 100% as this was the last game of me being a Trojan.”

The Pickering Trojans were led in scoring by Beck Nash and Cheyenne Creighton who both scored 16 points.  The Campions Bears were led by 21 from Shay Colley and Sade Iriah who scored 10.

-See the complete list of 2011 OFSAA 4A scores

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