By Gord Bowes, News staff
In the first half, St. Mary’s seemed to miss as many baskets as they scored.
But there are two halves to a game and by the end of the fourth quarter the Crusaders had rallied back to tie the St. Thomas More Knights and force overtime in the Catholic high school senior girls basketball final.
Eventually, they started sinking everything they sent to the net, while the Knights’ shooting went cold.
“St. Mary’s never misses everything, so you knew eventually their shots were gonna fall,” said Knights coach Blaize Di Sabatino.
The Knights held leads of 14-9, 28-21 and 40-32 at the ends of the first three quarters. With two minutes left in regulation, the Crusaders finally tied the game at 47. The fourth quarter ended with 50 points on the board for each team.
Both sides only managed two points each in the first overtime, but the Crusaders pulled away in the second OT, eventually winning 61-52.
Amira Giannattasio led the Crusaders with 19 points; Kia Nurse had 15 for the Knights and Abby Clarke had 14.
Di Sabatino said her team started slowing down as the game wore on.
“We got cold and the shots we were hitting in the first half, we weren’t hitting,” she said, adding that physical and mental fatigue set in toward the end of the game.
“The girls were battling it out the entire game … it’s a lot on their bodies and on their brains.”
On Thursday, the Knights will play Loyola in the Quad-A GHAC final. The Knights have beaten them twice this year. St. Mary hosts Abbey Park Tuesday in the Triple-A GHAC final. The winners of both games advance to OFSAA.
The Knights won the provincial Quad-A title last year; the Crusaders were the Triple-A OFSAA champs.
St. Thomas More and St. Mary’s have won every Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior girls basketball title since 1988.
In the junior girls final, St. Mary’s edged St. Thomas More 28-27. Natalie Laharnar had 11 points for STM.
St. Jean de Brebeuf, led by Carly Sella with 11 points, beat Bishop Ryan 27-22 to win the midget title.