JP II girls beat rivals

The reigning champions are returning to the finals to defend their junior girls basketball title.

Pope John Paul II Panthers, who suffered one of just two season losses to the Notre Dame Spirit, returned the favour by taking down the Spirits 54-42 in the semi-finals to advance to final against Senator O’Connor.

Natasha Agyeman scored a dozen points for the victors.

“We lost to that team a couple weeks back, ” Agyeman said, “and we really wanted this game to the championship so we got our act together and we won this. ”

The Panther centre was determined to come out on top of the rivalry with Notre Dame and changed her strategy for the semis.

“This game I was more into it,” she said. “I got more rebounds and shots.”

Agyeman, who returned to the team after last year’s championship as the starting five, is expecting a good game for the finals.

“I expect to be playing a hard team,” she said, before the final opponent was set, “but we’ll get our act together again and win, and take it home.”

Co-coaches Tavia Ferriera and Michelle Pantaleo, who both have been coaching for two years, also refined their strategies for the game against Notre Dame.

“We added full court press with a trap that helped to put pressure on their offence,” Ferriera said. “Basically, we made some changes to get the ball quicker.”

“We also prepared the girls for a touch match and got their heads in place. Other than that we just let their talent and persona take the court.”

At the end, Ferreira was satisfied with her team’s performance.

“I think [the game] went well, but there could have been some better hustles and passes, so there is always room for improvement,” she said. “But that is all you can ask for as a coach. So I am very proud.”