HT seniors win 37-36 nail-biter against SCS
Sydney Hotz of the Simcoe Sabres brings the ball up the floor while Leann Blake of Holy Trinity defends during this week’s senior girls championship final in Simcoe. The Holy Trinity Titans won the nail-biter in the final minute by a score of 37-36. They advance to the regional finals in Kitchener-Waterloo next week. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Players who rise to the occasion when everything is on the line are like money in the bank.
That’s why there was a lot of interest in Kate Wilhelmus following Thursday’s cliff-hanger final for the Norfolk senior girls’ basketball championship.
Simcoe Composite School led for the vast majority of the game. Indeed, the Sabres looked untouchable at the end of the third quarter with a 27-21 lead over the Holy Trinity Titans.
But with less than a minute left in regulation, Wilhelmus picked a Sabres’ pocket and marched in unopposed to make the score 35-34 in Holy Trinity’s favour.
SCS got that basket back with 20 seconds to go to make it 36-35 in the Sabres’ favour.
But with 12 second left, Wilhelmus was fouled and came to the line for two shots. Despite two sprained fingers that were heavily bandaged, she made them both. That made the final score 37-36 in favour of Holy Trinity.
“I think those are the only two free throws I made all year,” Wilhelmus said after the game. “But I have been known to steal the ball to make a basket. I did that last year.”
The Titans had home-court advantage for Thursday’s finals. In the junior tilt, Holy Trinity edged Delhi District Secondary School by a score of 33-30.
By virtue of their victories, the junior and senior Titans advance to the Central-Western Ontario Secondary School Association (CWOSSA) regional final in Kitchener-Waterloo next week. The teams will compete in the “AA” division.
The senior Titans’ amazing comeback was no fluke. Holy Trinity coach Tyler Backus has had success this year with the full-court press. When he fires it up, the press tends to create steals and turnovers.
The senior Titans’ deployed the strategy Thursday but had to back off after they got into early foul trouble. That gave the Sabres room to execute their game plan. However, with time running out and having nothing to lose, Backus told his players to attack.
“It worked,” he said. “That’s what we do – we press and force other teams to make mistakes.”
Wilhelmus led the way for Holy Trinity with 11 points. Teammate Madisyn Webb scored 10 points. Autumn Hagyard had 10 points for the Sabres.
The Holy Trinity seniors will be the team to beat in 2018. Only three seniors are moving on while talent will move up from the junior squad.
“We’ve worked hard,” said junior co-captain Jada Dawson. “In the end it all paid off. This is a great team. I love our team.”
Co-captain Kaitlin Mitchell led the junior champs with 13 points. Ashley Spain of the Raiders also had 13 points.