By Larry Moko
When the Cathedral Gaels defeated the Holy Names Knights 85-73 Saturday in Belle River to capture the OFSAA girls’ AAA basketball championship, the Daly clan was well represented.
On the court, Cathedral players included twin sisters Keira and Nicole Daly, along with their cousin, Rachel Daly.
The head coach of the team was Keira and Nicole’s father, Kevin. And serving as assistant coaches on the bench were Kevin’s wife, Sandra, and his father, Jim.
Also on hand for support in the crowd were other members of the Daly family including Kevin’s brothers, Mark (the principal at Cathedral) and Brian (the principal at St. Thomas More).
Jim, Sandra, Kevin, Mark and Brian all have coached Cathedral teams at various times over the years.
“I am obviously blessed to be coaching my daughters and my niece with my wife and father,” Kevin Daly said. “It’s special. The Daly family has always felt indebted to Cathedral. We are all proud to be representing Cathedral and this team has raised the bar with female sport accomplishment at Cathedral.”
It’s the second consecutive OFSAA title for the Gaels – the school’s first two ever in girls’ basketball.
“I hope to see future female Cathedral teams match or exceed our success,” he added.
With five victories in as many starts at OFSAA 2022, the Gaels stretched their undefeated streak over two full seasons to 51 games. Said coach Daly: “This was the hardest game we’ve played in two years.”
In its matchup with second-seeded Holy Names of Windsor, top-seeded Cathedral had to recover from a 13-point deficit as the Knights poured in seven 3s in the first quarter. The Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference champions led 50-45 by halftime, however, and used a 16-2 run to take a 74-54 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t do anything wrong, they just shot the lights out,” the Gaels coach said. “They hit 11 3s in the half and 15 for the game. They got the jump on us because they hit those shots.”
Defensive pressure eventually forced the Knights into numerous turnovers that led to easy baskets for the Gaels.
The leading scorer for Cathedral was Keira Daly who tossed in 35 points – 26 in the first half.
“It’s been different people for us the whole tournament,” coach Daly said.
Other top point-getters for Cathedral were Kylie Rosos (15), Maya Flynn (14), Nicole Daly (13) and Amy Varrasso (8).
Other Cathedral players included Atteyla Barichello-Herrara, Nubeah Clarke, Beatrice Clausen, Angelina Medeiros, Tea Papalia and Kaylor Rosos.
Cathedral’s other wins at the 16-team, three-day competition were against the St. Mary’s College Knights of Sault Ste. Marie, the Cobourg Institute Wolves, the Saltfleet Storm and London’s Mother Teresa Spartans.
“It was nice to have the banquet and the full experience of OFSAA,” Daly said referring to the past several years of COVID-19 restrictions.
One other Cathedral assistant coach is Luca Fortino, head coach of Cathedral’s GHAC champion boys’ basketball team.