John Paul II girls’ basketball team finishes season on a high note

The Pope John Paul II girls’ basketball team ended their season on a high note with a sixth place finish at the OFSAA provincial AAAA championships two weekends ago in Sarnia.

And just to make things better, they also walked away with the Sportsmanship Award.

Pope John Paul II's girls' basketball team.
Pope John Paul II’s girls’ basketball team.

“I told the girls that this award went beyond the coveted championship trophy,” said coach Steven Gazmin. “This was an award that signified the true meaning of the games, that of enjoyment, fairness, respect, and fellowship amongst our competitors.”

Panthers lost their first game 50-44 to Sarnia Northern, despite Courtney Sinclair’s dozen points and strong play.

Game two was a 59-43 loss to Waterloo Collegiate Institute, with Candice Magdaluyo delivering 14 points, and Samantha Smith 12 for JPII.

After that, things turned around.

First there was a 69-39 domination of Grand River, led by Sinclair and La Tisha Bell who both pitched in with 16 points, and Shanice McKoy with 13.

They came back from an eight point first quarter deficit to defeat Etobicoke 55-42 on Magdaluyo’s game-high 19 points, and Smith’s 17 points.

But the Panthers lost their final game to Marguerite D’Youville by a three-point margin. Shanice McKoy was the team’s standout with 12 points.

Gazmin was encouraged by the team’s performance at the tournament.

“I felt that the girls played very well,” Gazmin said. “Our games are usually very exciting and competitive — nobody is going to blow us out. The team faced big competition, in both skill and height.

“We are a short team, among a lot of giants,” Gazmin said. “Although we are a small team, we will rarely be outplayed.”