A bitter silver for junior Mariners - Feb. 20, 2013
Taylor Cooke of the Fundy Mariners junior varsity girls basketball team, runs into the elbow of Carleton Northís Syndney Hillman, left, Carleton defender Maria Kinney provides defensive support. The highly favoured Mariners fell in a heartbreaking 81-77 loss in the final, and title-determining round of the provincial championship tournament in St. George Friday night: the teamís only loss of the year.
Overcome with emotion, Meagan Cheney buried her head in her hands as she kneeled, facing the dispassionate shot clock at the southwest corner of the Fundy High School gym. To her left, sitting on the bench of the Fundy Mariners junior girls basketball team, was Taylor Cooke, her head similarly cradled in her hands.
They were both left alone by others dealing with the same emotions. There was still some time on the clock, albeit too little time to give root to any real hope of changing the outcome of the final game of the junior varsity AA girls basketball season.
The emotions the squad emanated said it all: it wasnít supposed to end this way, not again.
The core of the roster had, in several consecutive years, gone to Basketball NB championships as dominant teams, yet, for various reasons, had returned with silver medals when gold medals had been theirs for the taking.
In 2012-13, the Mariners had motored along, winning. The solid young girls who were, just a few years ago, outstanding in minor basketball play had made a similar, outstanding impression in the first level of high school ball. For that reason, the team entered Fridayís round-robin tournament as the deserved favourites to claim the coveted title banner. After such a stellar season, all that was needed was one more win, just another in a long series of wins, to finish what had started months ago in pre-season training camps. One win, and the team could close out the season with a richly deserved banner.
Standing in their way was the only opponent with a realistic chance of altering the perfect ending to a stellar season: the Carleton North Stars. They had been picked as the likely team to emerge as the Marinersí foes.
But they werenít expected to shatter the dream. Not again.
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