Don’t let the basketball in their hands or the sneakers on their feet fool you, Sir Winston Churchill’s Bulldogs are gold diggers, not a team of high school girls.
And they took another step towards the mother lode – an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship – when they beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 49-20 to claim the overall title in the second basketball tournament. girls’ BPSN at Governor Simcoe High School on Friday night. in St. Catharines.
Churchill also won the championship in the tournament’s inaugural edition, but that was in 2019 and the Bulldogs have played a lot of basketball since then. Last November, they won bronze as the OFSAA triple-A host team and so far this season are 16-2.
Churchill, who opened the final against Notre Dame with a 19-0 run, fired the entire starting lineup of a team that went to provincials last year.
“We have a really good team, and we just wanted to show everyone in Niagara that we’re a really good team,” he said. “You’re going to have to play a really good game to keep up with us and beat us because we’ve played a lot of really, really competitive games.”
Keltos was proud of the way the Bulldogs played against the Fighting Irish and throughout the 16-day tournament.
“They played hard. They had stage fright, we had lulls, but we got through,” he said. “We succeeded and that makes a good team.”
All but two of Churchill’s victories were won in tournaments. The two losses were to Hamilton Cathedral in competitions in Hamilton and London, Ontario.
“We go to these out-of-town tournaments to see the other teams, so we’re not going to be surprised,” head coach Frank Keltos said. “We’re always going to be potentially surprised by a team from the north, but at Western there was a team from Timmins, Sudbury, London, they came from all over.
“There were 24 teams in this tournament.”
His 17-year-old daughter, Brookelyn Keltos, was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player, joining her older sister Sam who won the same award in 2015 when the mid-season competition was known as the Basketball Tournament. standard feminine. She said her older sister, who now plays with a professional team in Manchester, England, posted a flashback from the 2015 tournament.
“I wanted to win it so we could have our names together and keep it to Sir Winston,” the Year 12 student said.
Brookelyn Keltos, who played in the first BSPN women’s basketball tournament in her freshman year in high school, said it was “really special” to succeed former teammate Kaley DeMont as MVP. She shared this year’s award with her teammates.
“It’s really special for me to be named MVP. I see myself as a leader on the team, but we all play so well as a team that any one of us could have been MVP,” Keltos said. “It wasn’t my best game, but I looked for my teammates and did what I had to do.
“We all contributed throughout the tournament.”
The Fighting Irish impressed head coach Pat O’Leary with how they entered the team’s first tournament in two years.
“I think the biggest takeaway is that we are capable of doing great things, but we also have a lot of work to do.”
He conceded Notre Dame had a “rough start” against Churchill in the final.
“We are a bit inexperienced, we haven’t trained much together as a team. We have a lot of young girls and it showed in the first quarter and a half, two quarters,” O’Leary said. “We knew we were going to have a tough time tonight, but I thought we would be a bit more competitive at the start.”
Scorers in the final: Churchill, Megan Barker, 15; Kate Smyth, 9, Samantha Cormier, Keltos, 7 each; Yemi Oladipo, 4 years old; Lauren Cosby, 3; Morgan Barker, Paige Cook, 2 each; Notre Dame, Nicole Dixon, Emma Hemphill, 4 each; Elyse Carmichael, Nicole Pullar, 3 each; Oliva Bittman, Lila DiPietro, Abbey Grande, all with 2.
Megan Barker and Oladipo, Churchill; and Hemphill, Pullar, Notre Dame; were named Tournament Stars along with Saint Francis’ Mikayla Wallace.
Churchill, over Denis Morris, 65-32, championship; AN Myer, on Welland Centennial, 37-30, consolation; were the inaugural champions of the inaugural BPSN Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Tournament action moves to Welland where the second Niagara College Girls Hoops Classic kicks off Wednesday with qualifying matches at Centennial and Crossley. The quarter-finals of the 13-team tournament take place the next day at Centennial, Championship; and Port Colborne, side B of the support.
All matches in Friday’s semi-finals and Saturday’s finals will be played at the Niagara College Athletic Centre.
Notre Dame enters the tournament as the number one seed, earning a bye to the quarterfinals on the championship side of the draw.
In the inaugural tournament played in 2019, also at Niagara College, Crossley defeated Notre Dame 58-51 for the overall championship with Simcoe leading the Cougars 35-21 in the consolation final.