Champions until the last shot

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Springhill Eagles lose by two points to Middleton for second straight year.

Springhill Lady Eagles players Sydnee Balser (left) and Jordyn Tannahill guard a Pictou Academy Pitbull last month in Springhill during the finals of the 2013-2014 Northumberland Region Division 3 senior girls basketball championships in Springhill.

MIDDLETON-The 2014 Northumberland Region Division 3 senior girls’ basketball champions, the Springhill Lady Eagles, won silver again at the 2014 Division 3 girls provincial championships from February 27 through March 1.

In their first game against Barrington, Springhill came out running from the opening tip, receiving contributions from everyone on the team, as they rolled to an 80-22 win. With the victory, the Springhill advanced to the semi-finals against the tough Dalbrae team from Cape Breton. Springhill got out to an early lead due to the leadership of graduating players Julie Alick, Sydnee Balser, Brenna Casey and Stephanie McCormick. Feeding off their fans, Dalbrae rallied back from a 53-38 third quarter deficit to cut the lead to just four points with under five minutes left.

During a time out, Springhill coach Darrell McLellan settled his team down. Springhill hung on for a 67-56 win, earning them a berth in championship game against Middleton in a rematch of the championship game last year in Springhill.

Middleton got off to an early 13 point lead, thanks in no small part to their loud and supportive fans. Springhill turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, preventing the larger Middleton team from getting into the paint for easy points.  Springhill managed to tie up the game at 23 points going into half time. 

At the start of the fourth quarter, Middleton held a slim 2 point lead. As the fourth quarter opened, Springhill came out playing hard, led by grade nine Kylee Balser, who knocked down a couple of key shots and distributed the ball to teammates for easy baskets. With about five minutes left, Springhill took a four point lead. As the horn sounded to end the game, Springhill came up just short by a score of 54-52, losing by two points for the second year in a row, both times to Middleton.

“I’m so proud of all the girls,” said coach Darrell McLellan. “They had a great season. Despite coming up just short in the final game, the girls should look back on the season with nothing but pride, as they had to overcome a lot of obstacles, including having players on the injured list, not having a home gym to practice or play in all year (until regionals) and having to learn a new defensive system.”

Both coach McLellan and assistant coach Murray Thompson would like to thank everyone from students to parents for helping out, both at home and on the road. All the best to its four graduating players, Sydnee Balser, Stephanie McCormick, Brenna Casey, and Julie Alick, as well as exchange student Celina Kramer, who played on the team until she had to return home to Germany after first term exams.

Thompson reminds his team that “it is not what you find at the end of your journey that defines success or failure, but rather what you learn along your journey.”

 

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Germany

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