Cathedral and Newman headed to OFSAA finals

Cathedral and Newman headed to OFSAA finals
Posted on 11/25/2023
CHS semi OFSAA game

By Larry Moko

A large dose of Daly was too strong for the Pickering Trojans to handle.

Veteran guard Keira Daly poured in a career-high 45 points to lead the top-seeded Cathedral Gaels to a 75-51 semifinal victory over the No. 5 seeds from Pickering at the OFSAA girls’ AAA basketball tournament Friday.

That outcome, along with St. John Henry Newman’s 46-42 triumph over Sarnia’s second-seeded St. Patrick’s Fighting Irish, sets up an all-Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic championship Saturday.

The gold-medal showdown of the 16-team three-day provincial competition is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Cathedral.

The Ajax-based Trojans jumped ahead 2-0. But then Daly took charge, scoring 10 unanswered points. And by the end of the first quarter, her rim attacks and 3-point shooting accounted for 23 points.

By the half, she had 30.

“In not too many GAMES have we even given up 45 points,” Pickering coach Mike Gordensky said. “Cathedral ran the ball down our throats in every aspect of the game, including coaching. We weren’t mentally focused.”

Gordensky said Pickering suffered a heart-breaking quarter-final loss at OFSAA last year but put together a late 12-point run to down the Westdale Warriors 56-45 in this year’s quarter-final round.

The two-time defending champion Gaels, who stretched their overall winning streak during the past three seasons to 89 games, held quarter advantages of 30-11, 51-26 and 68-46.

“It was another great start for us,” Cathedral coach Kevin Daly said. “Keira dominated. I was proud of how well she played and how well the team played.”

Coach Daly’s twin daughters Keira and Nicole finished 1-2 in team scoring (45 and 19 points, respectively). In addition, they were key to Cathedral’s rebounding success and its ability to create defensive turnovers.

“It was great to watch,” the Gaels coach said.

“Pickering is a physical team and they didn’t quit. They made a run but we pushed back.”

Kathlyn Samuel was the top scorer for the Trojans with 25 points.

“Their team is taller so we had to box out,” Keira said. “We knew this game would be tougher.

“My shooting was good. I was focused. I got energy from the fans.”

Keira was also the top point-getter for Cathedral in its 75-53 quarter-final decision over Toronto’s Lawrence Park Panthers. Rachel Daly added 15, Beatrice Clausen and Mekeelah Dillon scored 11 apiece and Nicole netted nine.

In their victory over St. Patrick’s, the Newman Cardinals got 20 points by Larissa Ruggiero, 13 by Grace MacDonald and 12 by Mia Persia.

And in their 49-44 quarter-final contest against the third-seeded Mother Teresa Spartans of London, Ruggiero tossed in 19 points. Grace Fleming added 12.

Newman entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed.

“It was a great accomplishment for the girls and the school,” Newman coach Roy Milutinovic said of the two upset victories. “Mother Teresa and St. Pat’s are top teams in Ontario. They have faced Cathedral in four of the five major tournaments this year and we faced them in the other one.

“Our team worked hard and got better as the season went along.”

A Newman-Cathedral final marks the sixth time this season those two teams have faced each other.

The bronze-medal game between St. Patrick’s and Mother Teresa is scheduled for noon at Cathedral.

CHS semi OFSAA gameCHS semi OFSAA gameCHS semi OFSAA gameCHS semi OFSAA gameCHS semi OFSAA gamePhotos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography