Northern Red Knights are South region champs in girls basketball after slaying Oakwood Barons 51-40 in the finals on Nov. 5.
With the division title and an OFSAA spot clinched, the AAAA-classified Northern team moves on to a city semifinal match Nov. 7 against an opponent not yet determined as the Town Crier went to press. The AA-classifed Oakwood team has an OFSAA qualifying game the same day.
Talent on the offensive and defensive ends of the court showed in the finals game, and a tight first quarter was dictated by a defensively physical stalemate.
The Red Knights’ Emma Fraser was exceptional in rebound control, and the Barons’ Aiden Rainford blocked several jumpshots. Northern eventually established control, shutting down Oakwood scoring except for free-throw attempts by guard Avolyn Sharp.
Northern’s star centre, 6-foot-2 Julia Chandler, got into foul trouble, unable to catch up to the speedy Sharp.
Northern captain Laura Kinoshita said later that picking up for your star player is an important thing for her team.
“I think it was really important, in this game, to learn how to play if she gets into trouble,” said Kinoshita, the starting point guard. “Emma [Fraser] was a really good presence in this game, and [guards] Nicole [Karkavitsas] and Anja [Marinkovic] — they all stepped up.”
Northern created a slew of turnovers, leading to fast break points. And when Oakwood double- and triple-teamed players the Red Knights swiftly passed to open guards. Anja Marinkovic drained timely three-point baskets.
“We executed everything pretty good, our offense did our best,” Marinkovic said post game. “Our defense was tight, we had some ups and downs, but we pushed through.”
Northern had its hands full, however. Oakwood had shot a high percentage on long-range jumpers. The Oakwood backcourt, led by Sharp, saw success when they dribbled and drove inside to create easier baskets.
But Sharp blamed the loss on a lack of killer instinct down the stretch.
“The game was okay, it was good competition, I just think our team gave up because [the team] felt that we were already defeated,” said Sharp, who shot seven freethrows in the first quarter alone. “We still had time, and fatigue really played a factor in this game, so our energy wasn’t there in the last two quarters.”
The Barons had spurts of great offensive flow, with baskets by Rainford and Quiosha Lindsay, but a six-point third quarter did them in.
They succumbed to a suffocating full-court press, and watching easy fastbreak baskets by Red Knight forward Fraser, who scored 15 points in the second half.
About this article: