[attach]5209[/attach]The Runnymede Ravens’ goal for 2011 was set right from their first practice: a City Championship.
Coach Melanie Belore negotiated her way through a crowd post A/AA medal ceremony, Nov. 15, to share what drove her squad to a title shot.
With Vaughan Road as their opponents, there was no time for the senior girls to be victims.
“We’ve seen them three times, and we were excited to play them again,” she said. “They’re a strong team, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“It’s exciting for the girls to play in this kind of environment,” she added. “I think there were some jitters earlier on, but I think it was a great experience for them overall.”
Unfortunately, on this particular day, Runnymede was runner-up, losing to the Vipers 46–36.
Their biggest challenge was Vaughan’s twin towers: Sandra Amoah and Aleena Domingo who emulated the strength and determination seen with San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
The Vipers shut down Runnymede, only allowing 10 points in the first half. In an effort to answer the call, Ravens captain Brittania Brown and post-player Anna-Kay Hyatt put forth their own efforts to narrow a gulf that grew to a 16-point deficit. Brown drained 19 points while Hyatt sank 12 — 10 of which came in the last two minutes of the game. Quynh Chau, who has given 100 percent every game, Belore said, anchored ball movement.
“I think we did good, we kind of had a comeback, and that’s what we planned to do to get within 10,” Hyatt said.
For Vaughan Road coach Wilton Hall, there was no doubt the game was rife with aggression.
“Today’s game was kind of scrappy but we know Runnymede very well because we have played them two times in our league,” he said. “But the bottom line is that we got the W and we’re moving on to OFSAA.”
OFSAA is a dream come true for Domingo, who transferred from Forest Hill CI in the hope of making provincials.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Some people were saying that I can’t play because I just transferred, and I just said, ‘I’m going to play. I’m going to play’,” she said.
A focus for the Vipers was to run out to a large lead so the bench could get involved.
“From the beginning of the game we just wanted to play and go hard from the start so that everybody can play,” she said. “We always think about everybody getting a chance to play.”
With Amoah and Domingo on the bench the Ravens capitalized, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Hall didn’t give his decision to rest his players a second thought.
“There was no hesitation, I wanted to get some of our grade 9s and 10s in the game to give them the Citys experience,” he said. “It’s a team sport so everybody contributes.
“I knew we were going to win the game, it doesn’t matter by how much.”