Local schools vying for provincial basketball titles

The Lady Spartans clinched their spot at provincials with a 58-45 win over Carleton North 58-45 on Feb. 17. (Submitted)

ST. STEPHEN AND ST. GEORGE — Fundy High School and St. Stephen High School will both compete for provincial basketball titles this weekend.

At last weekend’s New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association Sectional Tournament, the Lady Spartans roared back to defeat Carleton North 58-45 on Feb. 17 in front of a large crowd in St. Stephen.

Coach Don Walker said his team was trailing by three points at halftime, then were down by nine points in the third quarter before coming back to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. In the final quarter, the Lady Spartans outscored their opponents 16-3.

The coach said his team showed mental and physical toughness.

“Our defence took over, we executed well offensively, we made free throws,” he said. “It was a great game, it was really, really well attended, and our kids are pretty excited.”

The top scorer for the Lady Spartans was Aislyn Burns, who had 17 points.

“She had 15 in the second half, which ended up being critical points for us to get our offence going because we were sputtering in the first half and even at the start of the second half,” Walker said.

Anna Somers had 14 points, Beth Harris had 13, while Jacey Calder had eight points, including some big points in the second half, Walker added.

The coach said the key to victory was defence.

“The girls realized where we were in terms of the game and it being on the line and they just turned it on,” he said.

With the win, the Lady Spartans advance to the Final 12 Provincial Tournament at TD Station in Saint John, where they will face Rothesay Netherwood on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in the girl’s basketball AA championship game.

“We are really, really well supported by our community and our school and we’ll have a big crowd there from St. Stephen,” said Walker. “It has the makings for a very good final game.”

Also last weekend, the Fundy High School boys team won the Northeast Sectional Tournament at Miramichi Valley High School, defeating Sugarloaf Senior High School 82-50 on Feb. 16.

The next day, Fundy beat the host Miramichi Valley High School 72-50.

Coach Geordie Doak said his team avenged their loss to Miramichi Valley in last year’s sectional tournament.

“Because it’s a Miramichi home gym, they packed it with screaming, banging teenagers and parents,” he said. “When you’re playing away, every time you shoot a free throw and every time you get a foul, they’re going to let you know and we handled it really well.”

Doak said NBIAA all-stars Frits Cantero and Charlie Craig handled the defensive pressure well.

“They face guarded (Cantero) and bumped him the whole way up the court just to try to keep the ball out of his hands, but he still carried us,” he said. “Charlie also handled physicality and the high emotions of the game really well. He’s our bigger, down low guy.”

As a result, the Mariners will be traveling to Saint John to take on École Sainte-Anne (ESA) from Fredericton in the boys AA final on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.

“Basketball is a funny game, both teams could decide to slow it down and play a different game to try to get some edge, but I think that it will be fast paced,” he said. “I think we’ll both be moving the ball really quickly and running up the court to try to tire the other group out.”

jakeboudrot@advocatemediainc.com

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.