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Vanier Spirits Junior Girls advance to league final

The victory moved the Spirits into the Moose Jaw junior girls final against the regular season champions the Central Cyclones

The gym may not have been packed but the Vanier Spirits senior girl’s team raised enough of a ruckus that it seemed that way as their junior Spirits counterparts defeated the visiting Assiniboia Rockets 63 - 33 on Wednesday evening, February 28.

The victory moved the Spirits into the Moose Jaw junior girls final against the regular season champions the Central Cyclones next Monday evening. 

The Rockets are eliminated from further league play.

The Spirits used an aggressive style of play to force the Rockets to turn over the ball on several occasions. The turnovers were taken advantage of by the Spirits to score points on many opportunities.

The First Quarter saw the Rockets take an early single point lead but by the six minute mark the Spirits were moving ahead in a continual manner.

The score at the end of the quarter was Vanier 24 and Assiniboia 9.

The Second Quarter saw the Spirits continue to press the Rockets deep in their zone making it difficult to get back onto the court let alone successfully drive down court.

The score at Halftime was Vanier 36 and Assiniboia 21.

The Third Quarter saw the Rockets manage to get down court on several occasions but the found themselves unable to get a clean shot at the basket. 

When they finally did get a shot they were met by stiff defence as Vanier continued their strong defensive rebounding game.

The score at the end of the third quarter was Vanier 56 and Assiniboia 25.

The Fourth Quarter saw a visibly tired Rockets team as the Spirits showed no signs of breaking.

The Final Score was Vanier 62 and Assiniboia 33.

Despite the loss, the Rockets showed their class and sportsmanship as one of their players who was injured during the last minutes of the game with assistance of a teammate hobbled down the line to shake the Spirits players hands.

Top scorers for Assiniboia:

  • Anya Wills- 15 points
  • Shreya Varani -7 points
  • Ava Coghill -6 points

Top scorers for Vanier:

  • Isabella Flanagan - 12points 
  • Evelyn White – 12 points
  • Kallie New – 12 points

For Spirits head coach Miguel Cruz sticking to the game plan was key to the team’s victory.

“Tonight we came out aggressive and they all played awesome. The key was we had to come out pressing and aggressive and it just paid off for us,” Cruz said.

He had nothing but praise for the Rockets.

“Assiniboia, they are a great team. They had some really good chances. I think they couldn’t handle the pressure at times and they got frustrated,” he said.

Cruz said the Vanier Spirit’s style of play employed the full court press.  “That’s what the girls love to play. They seem to play batter when they are playing aggressive attacking.”

“(I was worried) a little bit (about potential fouls aggressive play can draw)…; for sure, especially when it is your two (grade) tens that are in a little bit of foul trouble.” 

He said the team’s grade nines “are a special group that have figured out how to play together” and stepped up when needed.

The first quarter saw the Spirits wrack up four team fouls coming close to tipping over the five foul mark and placing the Rockets in free throw land.

Despite the fouls, Cruz said he was not overly worried about the Spirits taking fouls next week in the Final against the Central Cyclones.

“I think at times, because they are playing aggressive, they are reaching in too much; I’m not too worried,” he said.

“I’m confident with my other kids; I can throw them in there and they should be able to fill in. They should be able to do fine.”

Cruz’s made a prediction about how the game would play out in next weeks senior girls Final against the regular season champions the Central Cyclones.  .

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.  “Central has got a good team and it will be hard. It is going to be a great, great battle.” 

It needs to be noted that what type of game plan the Cyclones might take - as evidenced in recent play - is unknown as they advanced straight to the Finals on two byes due to job actions.

The exact time of the Moose Jaw city league’s junior girls basketball Final was unknown at publication time but the expectation has been that the game will be played at Central Collegiate on Monday March 4th.

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