Gaels top Cardinals in senior girls' basketball

Gaels top Cardinals in senior girls' basketball action
Posted on 09/27/2023
CHS basketball player

By Larry Moko

The Cathedral Gaels have stretched their impressive winning streak in senior girls’ high school basketball to 62 games.

Two-time defending OFSAA champions at the AAA level, Cathedral recently went undefeated during eight straight starts en route to capturing tournament titles at Western University and the University of Windsor.

In addition, the Gaels have a 3-0 record in Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league play. After starting with decisions over the ACMT Jaguars and the Bishop Ryan Celtics, Cathedral topped the visiting St. John Henry Newman Cardinals, 78-39, on Tuesday.

Cathedral, which led 28-10, 41-16 and 58-28 at the quarter breaks, got 25 points from Keira Daly and 21 from her twin sister Nicole.

Both were key members of the school’s last two provincial championship squads.

“They try to do whatever they can to win the game,” Gaels head coach Kevin Daly said of his athletic daughters. “That’s their main focus. That’s what I like ... they like to win.”

Coach Daly said the pair bettered themselves during the summer by playing for an elite travel team. “They had a great coach and they improved in a lot of ways,” he said. “They worked hard on their shooting and dribbling.”

Keira scored 11 of Cathedral’s first 18 points against Newman. And then, to open the second half, she made three excellent feeds to her sister for successful layups.

Maya Flynn added six points for the Gaels while Beatrice Clausen, Rachel Daly and Mekeelah Dillon chipped in with five apiece.

For the Cardinals (2-1), Julia Romano and Larissa Ruggiero each tossed in eight points.

“We played hard right to the end,” Newman coach Roy Milutinovic said. “We don’t give up.”

The Cardinals reached the final against Cathedral last season, so Milutinovic said the Gaels full-court press came as no surprise.

“They are a great team,” he said. “It was a good game. We had some opportunities early when we broke their press but missed a few layups.”

While a core group of veterans lead the Gaels this season, coach Daly says it’s a new look team in several ways.

“It’s a fair bit different, actually,” he said. “We lost the Rosos twins who were starters. And we lost Amy Varrasso who was our sixth or seventh man.”

“Last year I always knew who was on the court. This year, some of the girls are playing bigger roles. Other girls have been asked to step up. They have done a good job so far.”

Daly is pleased with the Gaels improvement this season in rebounding. “We’re boxing out better,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of that today.”

“Obviously, it’s important because you don’t want to give up a second shot. But it also starts our fast break. You can’t start a fast break without a stop.”

In other action, the St. Thomas More Knights (3-0) kept pace with Cathedral in the standings with a 74-37 victory over ACMT. Bishop Ryan topped St. Mary, 43-27, and the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves defeated the Bishop Tonnos Titans, 38-24.

This weekend, Newman and host Cathedral are among 16 teams entered in the Michele Vesprini-Jordan Cancer Research Classic tournament.

“It’s loaded,” coach Daly said of the field. “It’s got the best provincial teams.”

Cathedral and St. Thomas More will also be co-hosting this year’s OFSAA girls’ AAA basketball tournament from Nov. 23-25.

CHS basketball playerNewman basketball playerCHS basketball playerCHS and Newman basketball playersCHS and Newman basketball playersPhotos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

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