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Vanier posts .500 record in senior girls basketball tournament

Spirits go 2-2 in four close games at Vanier, Briercrest Christian 1-3 on weekend
Whenever a basketball team plays a tournament, the goal is to see as many close and competitive games as possible.

For the Vanier Spirits this past weekend, they got that and then some.

The Spirits saw action in four games at Vanier during their annual senior girls tournament this past weekend and ended up with a 2-2 record – but three of those contests saw the final score within three points, with Vanier winning two of those barnburners.

Vanier opened the tournament against Briercrest Christian on Friday night and took a 49-46 win before battling to 34-31 victory over Yorkton Sacred Heart, falling 58-42 to Oxbow and dropping an epic 40-39 decision to Indian Head to close out action Saturday.

“It was wonderful,” Spirits coach Christa Lapointe said of the showing. “We have a young team this year and they’re growing and learning tons, but the best thing is they all have a good attitude and they’re very coachable, they hustle and they play with a lot of heart out there.”

That heart was especially on display in their final game, where the Spirits trailed 14-8 after the first quarter and 28-15 at the half. The Spirits managed to whittle the lead down to 10 after the third quarter before putting on a surge through the final eight minutes and nearly battling back to tie in the dying seconds.

Playing close games like that will only help with development going forward, said Lapointe.

“It’s the excitement and learning how to work under pressure, learning how to execute and work against another team that’s just as committed and passionate, which is awesome,” she said. “It raises the bar, and the more you play in these games, the more you’ll be prepared for them and the better you’re going to be when you see close games later in the season.”

Vanier Indian Head2The Spirits’ Grace Waldenberger attempts to keep the ball inbounds while driving baseline.

Grace Waldenberger had 19 points for Vanier.

Against Sacred Heart, it was another comeback effort as the Spirits trailed 17-11 at the half but held Yorkton to only 13 points after the break. That was enough for Vanier to close to within three heading into the fourth quarter and eventually complete the comeback.
Waldenberger scored 12 points, Fiona Tolentina, Madison Miller and Jewellyn McDonald had seven points each.

The shoe was on the other foot against Oxbow, as the Spirits led throughout before being outscored 22-2 in the in final quarter. Waldenberger had 10 points.

Briercrest Christian fell 73-39 to Oxbow in their second game Friday, with scorers unavailable.

The Cougars rebounded Saturday morning with a 56-30 win over Sacred Heart, holding Yorkton to only 11 first-half points on their way to a 30-11 lead. Briercrest’s Lilly Mathies led all scorers with 16 points, Emma Carter scored 12 and Alexa Aikens added 10.

Briercrest Christian’s final game against Indian Head saw things go the other way, as they managed only six first quarter points and five in the second to trail 26-11 at half. Things were a different story after the break, though, as the Cougars clawed back to within three points before eventually falling 46-38.

Mathies scored 16 points, Aikens added eight.

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