HUNTSVILLE - On the weekend the Huntsville Major Midget Girls Hurricanes basketball team travelled to Hamilton to play in the Blessed Sacrament tournament, where they encountered teams from Ottawa to Oakville. This tournament is widely considered to be excellent preparation for the upcoming provincial championships and the Huntsville team welcomed the opportunity to play new opponents.
Friday night they were pitted against the Ottawa Shooting Stars, a quick team that capitalized on the many Huntsville turnovers. The Hurricanes kept pace, however, and found themselves down only 19-16 at halftime. Shooting eluded the Hurricanes in the second half and they were outscored 20-5 for a disappointing final score of 39-21. Huntsville scorers were Madison Brear with five points, and Sadie Honderich with four and great defensive play. Laura Stilwell and Seanna Payne also added four points each, while Madeleine Austin and Sarah Fletcher both contributed two points.
In the first game Saturday, the Hurricanes met the Mississauga Monarchs, a team they had previously beaten in Markham. After the first quarter, Huntsville led 9-4, and at halftime the score was 18-15 in the Hurricanes’ favour. Again, turnovers and shooting woes plagued the Hurricanes and the Monarchs took the lead 28-26 after three quarters. The fourth quarter proved to be a nail-biter and though Huntsville had several chances to win the game they came up short with a final score of 45-43. The leading scorer for Huntsville was Austin with 20 points, followed by Elly Lapp with seven, Payne with six, and Marah Roberson with three. Stilwell, Brear,and Olivia Coleman each chipped in two points while Honderich added one point.
The Oakville Vytis Number 2 was the third round robin opponent, and proved trouble for the Hurricanes from the tipoff. The Vytis opened up a 15-6 lead after the first quarter, and extended that lead to 30-16 by the half. Despite a strong third quarter in which they outscored the Vytis 13-8, the Hurricanes trailed 38-29 heading into the fourth and were unable to continue the comeback. The final score was 40-31 in favour of Oakville. Payne had the scoring touch for the Hurricanes with 10 points, followed by Austin with nine, Roberson and Lapp with four apiece, and Maeve Morin with two.
Huntsville headed to the consolation side of the tournament and faced the Cambridge Centaurs on Sunday morning. They jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first quarter and maintained it for the rest of the game for a final outcome of 48-34. Again, Austin led scorers with 11 points, followed by Brear with eight, and Roberson with seven. Kaitlyn McManus scored six points, while Honderich and Hayley Carpenter added four apiece. Lapp and Taylor McManus each netted three and Coleman added two. Megan Brush played solid defence to aid the cause.
In the consolation final, Huntsville faced a familiar opponent in the Lindsay Wildcats, a team they have battled successfully several times this season. In this final, the rivalry continued, with Huntsville taking a slim lead in the first quarter 6-4 and barely retaining it 13-12 through the half. Lindsay inched ahead 25-23 in the third quarter, setting up a dramatic finish at the end of the game.
With the Wildcats ahead 33-32 and 43 seconds on the clock, Austin went to the foul line and sunk two of three shots to nudge Huntsville ahead 34-33. The Hurricanes successfully used the shot clock to their advantage and with four seconds left Stilwell was fouled and solidified the slim margin with another single point, 35-33.
Scoring for Huntsville were T. McManus with eight, K. McManus and Austin with six each, and Fletcher with four points and a tremendous defensive game. Stilwell added three, while Coleman, Roberson and Tamara Sutherland each contributed two points. Carpenter rounded out the scoring with a single point.
The Hurricanes have two weeks to prepare before they head to the provincial championships in Kitchener.