The Eastern Commerce girls’ senior basketball team hosted their last game on Thursday and left their gym in style, taking down the Northern Knights 92-39.
Saints’ coach Kareem Griffin thought the victory was a great way to leave their legacy on the gymnasium.
“It’s the last game of any kind here because of the size of our gym,” Griffin said. “So this is pretty much a boost up for a lot of the senior girls that are not returning.”
Within the walls that encompass the small space, many great basketball teams have endured. Though the boys’ team is the one that receives most of the attention, the girls have made their own mark on the school.
“We’re turning heads,” the Saints coach said. “We’re trying to turn the spirit of this school around and give girls an opportunity to showcase their talent.”
Griffin has been coaching at Eastern Commerce for the last seven years and during his time there, has led his girls deep into every post-season.
Over his tenure, the Saints have been to OFSAA every season, winning provincial gold medals in both 2007 and 2008.
For point guard Sammy Hill, who was part of the 2008 team, leaving the gym means leaving those championships in it.
“The difference will probably be the history,” Hill said of having played her last game on home court. “When we step in here we know everything that’s happened in this gym. I guess we’re just going to have to make new memories.”
If Thursday’s game was indicative of what the future might hold, the Saints will have many moments to look forward to.
Northern opened the scoring with a free throw, but that was the only time it held a lead. At the end of the first quarter, the Saints were up 27-12.
Eastern Commerce dominated the entire time, getting help from almost every player. Three girls led the charge though, spending the majority of the time on the court and grabbing most of the points.
Hill, Vaneil Simpson and Billy Grant were the Saints’ keys to success as they led their team to the locker room at halftime leading 54-23.
Ahead 78-31 through three quarters, Eastern Commerce gave its starters a rest, sending in the bench players.
The one bright spot for Northern was its own point guard. She was the only player who managed to get through the Saints’ tough defence and consistently put up numbers throughout the game.
Griffin wasn’t bothered by her success because he knew how little of an effect it had on his team’s victory.
“We just let her do her thing,” Griffin said of the Knights’ point guard. “She’s the only one on their team. They can’t beat us. They can’t beat 12 girls.”
Hill felt that her team adapted to the Northern player’s style, and made the key adjustments.
“She’s a great player but we just locked in,” Hill said. “We figured out how she was playing. She’s really good. It’s hard to stop her.”