By DAVE PAUL
Photos by Pat Brethauer
A see-saw battle between two evenly matched senior girls high school basketball teams was decided in the fourth quarter, Saturday night at SCITS.
The St. Pat's Fighting Irish and Northern Vikings exchanged the lead back-and-forth throughout three quarters of play and were deadlocked 30-30, early in the fourth quarter.
But the Irish did all the scoring from that point forward en route to a 38-30 victory.
It was one of two LSSAA championship games played between the two schools on Saturday.
In the junior final, it was Northern coming from behind to beat St. Pat's, 32-27. Sam Brimmer led Northern with nine points, Skyla Minaker had eight and Stephanie Shaw added six for the winners. Jennah Taylor led St. Pat`s with nine points.
"Both teams played extremely well and were extremely prepared for this game." Head Coach Shelley Pretty said "It was a close contest the whole way through, I thought all the girls played their hearts out."
The Junior Vikings will move on to SWOSSA AAA semi finals and will host Chatham on Monday at 6:30. Winner of that game will play in Windsor in the final.
The senior game was a titanic struggle throughout with neither team able to seize control at any point until the game's final stages. Northern led 17-15 at the half, but St. Pat's fought back with a 10-5 run in the third quarter to take a 25-22 lead.
Jordan Milos starred for the Irish in the third, hitting several outside shots, including a couple of key three-pointers (she had four three-pointers, total, in the game) while Caroline Hummell was a force down low. The two combined to score 29 of St. Pat's 38 points (Hummell-15, Milos-14).
St. Pat`s held the lead until early in the fourth when Cassidy Crowe scored to tie things at 30-30. That's when the game was decided.
"We turned the ball over against the press a couple of times and that killed us," said Northern coach John Thrasher, after the game.
#4 Caroline Hummell
After St. Pat`s took a 32-30 lead, the back-breaking play might have come when the Vikings got back onto the court late following a timeout. The Irish in-bounded the ball against a scrambling Vikings defence and Hummell scored an easy two points while drawing a foul.
When she made the extra point, the score was 35-30 and the Irish were on their way to victory.
"That was my fault," said Thrasher. "We spent too much time at the bench," setting up the defence.
"It was my fault ... and it really hurt us," Thrasher added.
Then, just past the halfway point of the quarter, Northern all-star Lauren Handy fouled out, and the writing was on the wall for Northern.
The poised Irish then excelled at keeping the ball away from a frustrated Vikings squad as the clock ran down, with Milos doing some exceptional dribbling work.
#11 Jordan Milos
St. Pat's coach Ed Dragan called it a fantastic final and specifically highlighted the play of Milos in helping lead the Irish to victory.
"Jordan was exceptional, coming off the bench for us," said Dragan.
He added Northern "threw a few different wrinkles at us," strategically, as he expected they might, but his players never faltered, playing a steady game from start to finish.
Both teams now move on in SWOSSAA semifinal action with St. Pat's playing in Chatham on Monday in AAAA play and Northern hosting a AAA game on Tuesday.
The end-of-season LSSAA all-stars were announced at the end of Saturday's final.
Junior all-stars were: LCCVI (Kendall Shepard and Ashley Hoeksma), St. Clair (Ashley Moore and Jennifer Piggott), Northern (Skyla Minaker and Abby Whiteye) and St. Pat's (Sarah Kindrachuk and Brittany Van Hooft).
Senior all-stars: LCCVI (Jenna Bolton and Emily Campbell), St. Clair (Morgan Campbell and Maddy Campbell), Northern (Lauren Handy and Lexi McShea) and St. Pat's (Caroline Hummell and Mackenzie Turner).
St. Pat's Irish 2013 LSSAA Senior Girls Basketball Champions
Northern Vikings Jr Girls Basketball LSSAA Champions