By Larry Moko
The top-seeded St. Thomas More Knights have advanced to the gold-medal game of the 2019 OFSAA girls’ AAA high school basketball tournament in Mississauga.
The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league representatives won twice Friday to qualify for Saturday’s championship final of the 16-team event. Their opponent at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School will be the sixth-seeded Orillia Nighthawks. Tip off is 4 p.m.
“The girls are pretty ecstatic about the gold-medal game and can’t wait to play,” More coach Tania DiCampli said. “It should be an exciting match up.”
Helped by Raquel DiPietro’s game-high 12 points, More topped the eighth-seeded London Catholic Central Crusaders, 63-24, in a quarter-final. They then rallied from a two-point halftime deficit to defeat Sarnia’s fourth-seeded Northern Vikings, 62-56.
Trudi Vaughan and Kaya Charles netted 16 points apiece for the Knights.
“Sarnia was a much tougher game,” DiCampli said. “They have a lot of height which makes it a tough inside game for us. After trailing by two at the half, our Lady Knights put the pedal to the metal and did a 10-point swing to take the lead at the end of the third quarter by 8.
“My coaching advice to them was to just play a tough mental game and stay focused. Play together and we got this.”
More entered the three-day tournament with a record of 30-1, while Northern was 29-3.
Orillia began OFSAA play with a 25-8 overall mark. They won their semifinal, 55-31, over the Toronto Richview Saints (7).
In other OFSAA action, the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference AA champion St. Mary Crusaders lost 45-42 in overtime to Guelph’s St. James Lions Friday morning in Kingsville. St. Mary was ranked No. 5 in the 20-team field and St. James was No. 12.
St. Mary then fell 58-40 to the 16th-seeded All Saints Titans of Whitby.
The Crusaders, who won their opener Thursday, will face Mississauga’s St. Paul Wolverines (8) Saturday morning. The winner of that game advances to the consolation championship at 3 p.m.
Source: Marnie Jadon