Harbord upsets Leaside in regular season finale

It was a nail-biter late, but in the end the Harbord Tigers edged the Leaside Lancers 41-39 at home in Tier 2 senior girls basketball on Tuesday.

Senior shooting guard Tracey Biinna led the Tigers attack on the night with 19 points, nine in the final frame.

Harbord forward Alanah Piccatolli-Ross, who made significant rebounding and defensive contributions in the game, also showed a lot of offensive talent scoring 15 of her own.

Together, the two players combined for 34 of the host’s 41 total points.

“She really hurt us,” Leaside head coach Rujohn Galo said after the game, referring to Piccatolli-Ross. “In the beginning, that move she has really hurt us.”

With the loss, the Lancers (5-2) will finish second place behind Riverdale CI in the south region division, and move on to the playoffs next week.

After opening up the game with two three-pointers, Leaside forward Taylor Gavin finished with a team-high 15 points for the visitors.

Final period turning point

While the Lancers controlled most of the first three quarters, the turning point of the game came 18 seconds into the final period.

Galo picked up a technical for arguing a double-dribble call that ultimately swung the game’s momentum in favour of the homeside. The pressure on the ball was created when Harbord head coach Peter Hoffman opted to switch his defensive scheme.

“When I switched to man-to-man, it changed the game,” he said. “It changed the tempo.

“The game turned around, and then it became a very close game. “

Biinna calmly knocked down the two freebies from the line, and with the ball back, the Tigers took their first lead of the game, 32-31, courtesy an offensive rebound and put-back by Piccatolli-Ross.

Leaside quickly responded with a four-point run of their own to regain the lead, only to see Harbord jump on top once again thanks to two timely jumpers by Biinna.

With the score 39-37 in favour of the Tigers under two remaining, Leaside’s Veki Raskovic found an open Katherine Whyte under the basket, who converted the easy lay-up to square it at 39 all.

A Lancer foul in the bonus situation with just 31 seconds left put Biinna back on the line, and the two from the charity stood up as the difference for Harbord (3-4) as Leaside failed to convert on their final possession.