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Team Effort Propels Blues To Victory Over Barrie Royals



Despite a couple of injuries sustained over the course of JUEL’s Session 1, a cohesive Blues JUEL unit was able to pull off a solid 77-58 win over the Barrie Royals on January 20, 2013, in JUEL Session 1 action.

The Blues were reduced to dressing only 8 players for the game, after a couple of nagging injuries sustained in their victory the night before by Guards Megan Brenkel and Chelayne Bailey.

Blues JUEL Head Coach, Andrew Bergant saw the win as a total team effort. All of the team building efforts that were instilled to that point came rising to the surface in this win.

“I thought it was a really good performance for an undermanned group. We were down two players, and everyone stepped up and stepped up in a large way to make an incredible contribution to the team. I couldn’t single out any one person.”

He was encouraged by the appearance of vital intangibles apparent in his team, such as effort and discipline.

“I thought that our intensity and focus on the defensive end, our ball pursuit was just tremendous. I thought that the kids really committed to that, and they played with an intensity that was indicative of how we’d like to play the game.”

The Blues jumped out to an early 11-5 lead, and then further extended their lead to 19-11 by the end of the First Quarter. The Blues would then make their pushes again in the Second Quarter attacking and scoring as a team. The Blues took a 38-22 lead at half time. They had scoring input from 7 of their 8 players to that point further demonstrating heir balanced attack. To that point, they were led by the 11 points of Savanna Hamilton (6’1″, F, 2013), who connected on three 3-pointers in the first half.

The Second half saw a change in strategy from the Barrie Royals. On defence, they changed up their look, attempting to confuse the Blues. On offence, the settled nerves of a now awoken Sam Cooper (6’2″, F, Fairfield commit, 2013) saw her net 11 points in the Third Quarter giving her team a 20-11 run, narrowing the gap to 50-42.

Facing the adversity of a shrinking lead, and the momentum shifting in their opponent’s favour gave Bergant the opportunity to gauge just what his team was made of. He was encouraged by how they responded.

“They’re very resilient. There’s a really high trust factor”, he said of how his team responded the Royals’ runs. “The Coaches believe in them and their ability to do what we’ve asked them to do in terms of the defensive philosophies, and they executed. And, theres just a willingness to bear down just a little bit more, and to get the job done.”

To the Blues’ credit, they managed to finish off the game, outscoring Barrie 27-16, en route to a well earned 77-58 victory.

The all-round effort continued to draw the Bergant’s praise.

“Every kid from 1 through 8 today, and this weekend, 1 through 10, have made a significant contribution in every single game. None of that would be possible without every single person making a contribution.”

The evening before, the Blues pulled off a significant victory, defeating the Brampton Warriors 64-61. Besides how physically exhausting it was to pull off the victory, it was also an emotionally draining win. Getting his team back emotionally after a relatively short turnaround time and a couple of players short, was something that the Blues Coaching staff made a point to address in their pre-game talk.

“We made a point of discussing having a really gutty victory over a really tough and talented Brampton team, and just asked that our girls come and play with the same kind of intensity and determination…and then some.”

In order to sum up the way the Blues approached this game, I suggested to the Head Coach that perhaps it was his team’s willingness to roll up their sleeves to get things done which had a major impact on the game.

“I love that analogy”, said Bergant “That’s the kind of effort and intensity that we have to bring. We definitely rollup our sleeves and get to work.”

I may even go as far as to say that this is likely the mantra for this year’s edition of the Blues. Although its still very early what I see so far may bring about the best season finish by the JUEL franchise.


Blues JUEL – Kim Taylor 17 points; Linnaea Harper 15 points; Savanna Hamilton 11 points; Katrina Murrell 11 points; Dani Nafekh 10 points
Barrie Royals – Sam Cooper 27 points; Megan Smith 16 points