Gaels and Cardinals looking to place at OFSAA

Gaels and Cardinals looking to place at OFSAA
Posted on 11/24/2023
Newman OFSAA game

By Larry Moko

Both Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic entries won a pair of games Thursday to reach the quarter-final round of the 2023 OFSAA girls’ AAA basketball tournament.

The top-seeded Cathedral Gaels defeated the St. Peter Saints of Peterborough, 74-24, and then followed that up with a 76-24 decision over Sault Ste. Marie’s Korah Collegiate Colts.

As for the sixth-seeded St. John Henry Newman Cardinals, they got past Korah, 44-34, and St. Peter, 51-33.

Sixteen high school teams from across the province are taking part in the three-day competition at the Cathedral and St. Thomas More gyms. Quarter-finals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday while the medal games are Saturday.

“We preach defence,” Newman coach Roy Milutinovic said. “Both of our games were low scoring for the opponents.”

In the opener against a Soo squad, the Cardinals led by only two points at the half.

“I think with it being the first game there was a bit of nerves,” veteran Newman guard Larissa Ruggiero said. “In the second half we kind of went back to what we do best. Defence was a very important part of the win.”

Newman’s offensive production was spread around. Ruggiero netted eight points, Julia Romano tossed in seven, Grace MacDonald and Mia Persia contributed six apiece while Grace Fleming and Jessica Sager each added five.

Despite being rested for the entire fourth quarter against the Saints, Ruggiero led the Cardinals attack with 18 points. Ten of those points were consecutive near the end of the first half.

Persia chipped in with eight points -- all in the opening few minutes when Newman built an 11-0 lead. MacDonald and Romano added six apiece.

Six of Newman’s baskets came from three-point range while St. Peter made only one from outside the arc.

Said Ruggiero: “I knew the 3s weren’t going in for me at the beginning, so I started to go to layups. Once I started shooting the 3s in the second half they started to fall.

“As a team we put in the effort. What we did today showed good grit.”

In the wins by Cathedral, the Gaels blew past the opposition in the first quarter – leads of 30-6 against St. Peter and 28-6 against Korah.

“It was a great atmosphere for us with the gym packed with our loud fans due to the buyout,” Cathedral coach Kevin Daly said. “I think the combination of the intensity of our press and the atmosphere really rattled St. Peter early. We are a tough team to play when we defend like we did this afternoon in that kind of environment.”

Keira Daly led the Gaels attack with 17 points, while Nicole Daly, Beatrice Klausen and Rachel Daly each scored 13.

In its second game, Rachel Daly had 18 points while her cousins, Nicole and Keira, finished with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

“I am really pleased with how we are starting games,” coach Daly said. “Our press and half-court defence have been exceptional at the start. I’m obviously very happy with our Day 1 results. The games will continue to get harder going forward, so we are going to have to continue to play great defence to be successful.”

Cathedral is seeking its third straight OFSAA championship.

Newman’s quarter-final opponent will be the third-seeded Mother Teresa Spartans of London, while Cathedral faces Toronto’s Lawrence Park Panthers. They’re seeded No. 8.

Other playoff matchups include Hamilton’s Westdale Warriors (4) against Pickering Trojans (5) and Sarnia St. Patrick’s (2) versus Orangeville Bears (7).

Round 1 scores: St. Patrick’s 43 Eastview 16; Pickering 66 Bishop Allen 24; Westdale 69 St. Roch 41; Orangeville 49 Sir William Mulock 45; Newman 44 Korah 34; Cathedral 74 St. Peter 24; Mother Teresa 47 Frontenac 37; Lawrence Park 41 St. Mother Teresa 36.

Round 2 scores: Pickering 73 Eastview 24; St. Patrick’s 55 Bishop Allan 47; Westdale 75 Sir William Mulock 38; Orangeville 48 St. Roch 43; Cathedral 76 Korah 24; Newman 51 St. Peter 33; Mother Teresa 57 St. Mother Teresa 27; Lawrence Park 50 Frontenac 38.

Newman playing at OFSAA tournament Newman playing at OFSAA tournamentNewman playing at OFSAA tournamentNewman playing at OFSAA tournamentNewman playing at OFSAA tournamentPhotos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography