Lady Gens make it nine consecutive WECSSAA Championships

By Joel Charron

The General Amherst Lady Gens Seniors Girls basketball team are WECSSAA champs for the ninth consecutive year.

Friday night in front of a packed Amherst gym, the Lady Gens defeated the Kingsville

Christine Belcher blows past Kingsville’s Courtney Rivait in the second half

Cavaliers 47-34 for the AA-level title.

The championship game featured the top two seeds in Tier 1 as General Amherst finishing first with Kingsville right behind.

It took a while for the Lady Gens to find their stride, finishing off the first quarter with a 12-8 lead.

In the second quarter Amherst relied on their defense to force turnovers and slowly began to pull away, leading 27-17 at halftime.

Kingsville brought it within nine points midway through the third quarter, however, Amherst weathered the Kingsville surge, as that was the closest the Cavaliers would get.

Although the game was hard fought, the Lady Gens proved to be too much for the Cavaliers.

“It’s always nice when you win,” said head coach Dom Silvaggio, moments after the game. “We figured that this game would be a tough battle and it was.”

 

Jaylin VandeBovenkamp steals the ball from Cavaliers’ Sydney Booth

Silvaggio believes it was the team’s defense and their ability to “attack the basket” that sealed their ninth straight championship.

“Tonight, they wanted to win and their win brought it,” he said. “Our defense was outstanding and once we started attacking the basket that was the ball game.”

Silvaggio mentioned that it was nice to see Jaylin VandeBovenkamp find her rhythm in the midrange game, an aspect that was non-existent in Amherst 59-20 semi-final win against L’Essor. VandeBovenkamp finished with a team high 13 points

“She had to take a leadership role and I think she did just that,” said Silvaggio.

Recently awarded “Miss Basketball”

VandeBovenkamp said she came to the gym early to practice her jump shot, something that evidently paid off.

“I just might do that every game now,” she joked.

 

Lady Gens captains Katie Breault, Christine Belcher and Jaylin VandeBovenkamp accept the WECSSAA plaque for the ninth straight year.

VandeBovenkamp added that she felt nervous as game time approached and stated that the Lady Gens felt a lot of pressure to continue their legacy.

“There was a lot of pressure today,” she said. “But I think that motivated us to play better because we ended up having a really good game.

She also mentioned the Lady Gens gained “a lot” of confidence heading into SWOSSAA.

Grade 9 point guard Aleah Marton also had a good game, chipping in eight points. Silvaggio said he was impressed by how well she handled the pressure, considering how young she is.

“She took it to them,” stated Silvaggio. “She showed no fear at all. For a Grade 9 kid, she showed a lot of moxie.”

Marton said she did not know what to expect coming into the game, but knew Kingsville “would be coming hard at them” after beating them twice in the regular season. She admits nerves played a part in the slow start.

“At first I was really nervous and I wasn’t hitting my shots, but once I hit that three-pointer I felt better and fell into a rhythm,” explained Marton.

Christine Belcher, who may have played her last basketball game on her home court, said she was also nervous and pleased the girls were able to get it done.

“This could be my last game on this court,” she said. “I wanted to do it right and go out

General Amherst Lady Gens 2011 WECSSAA champions

on a winning note.”

Belcher finished the game with only two points, however, her plan was to help shut down Kingsville’s all-star Caitlyn Longmuir,. a plan that was executed with perfection, holding Longmuir to only five points.

“We knew if we shut her (Longmuir) down we would win,” said Belcher. “Once we shut her down, everything else just came together.”

Belcher, who adds her fourth WECSSAA gold medal to her resume, said overcoming a concussion that put her out for the majority of the season makes this championship even more important.

“In the back of my mind, I just wanted to play,” she explained. “Being able to play and playing a full game like I do is really satisfying.”

Lindsay Kondracki pitched in with 11 points, Katie Breault had eight, Sarah Bondy chipped in three points and Mackenize Morencie finished with two.

 

 

 

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