Jr. Lady Gens bring home WECSSAA Jr. basketball title

 

By Joel Charron

Hours before the start of the Jr. Girls WECSSAA basketball finals, General Amherst Jr. Lady Gens head coach Greg Scott wondered how his squad would handle the pressure.

“This is the first year going to a championship without any members from a previous championship team,” said Scott.

Turned out they handled the pressure just fine.

The Jr. Lady Gens defeated L’Essor 38-19 Friday evening to capture Amherst’s first WECSSAA junior championship in two years.

“I said to the girls before the game, they all worked extremely hard all year long, you all improve in varying degrees, reward yourself for all the time and effort that you put in this year,” said Scott.

The Jr. Lady Gens path to the championship was not an easy task, L’Essor

Madison Turner blows past a L’Essor defender on her way to the basket.

came into the finals with a perfect 10-0 record at the Tier 2 level and came back from 20 points in the semi finals against Kingsville to win.

Amherst held an 8-2 record but played in Tier 1.

As Scott expected the Jr. Lady Gens came out slightly tentative but managed to build a 12-6 lead at the end of the first frame.

Nerves continued to be a factor for both teams as they both struggled to score and committed several turnovers.

“It was obvious in the first half we were nervous. We kind of panicked in certain situations,” said Scott.

Amherst shook off the jitters during halftime, out scoring L’Essor 12-4 and continued their dominant play to the final frame.

The Jr. Lady Gens outscored their opponent 19-8 in the second half route to the championship.

“We were playing scared in the first half because we knew they came back from a good game in the semis,” said Amherst guard Olivia Starling. “In the second half we started coming together and playing as a team.”

 

General Amherst Jr. Lady Gens: 2012 WECSSAA Champs

Starling admits heading into the final quarter, she started to sense the WECSSAA final was coming back to Amherst.

“Just before the fourth quarter started I looked at the scoreboard and knew that we had this,” she said.

Scott said as a coach its nice to win championships, however, it’s more gratifying seeing the joy on the faces of the players.

“I’m so happy for the girls to experience this because they put in so much time, effort and hard work to get here,” he said. ‘I want them to be a part of all those people in that trophy case that won championships.”

Grade 9 forward Dani Leroux, who has watched her sister Alex, win championships with the senior team said she’s been waiting a long time to come to General Amherst to win a championship.

“This is a really good feeling especially knowing we worked as a team to get here,” said Leroux. “Our hard work paid off. We play like we are family and we got rewarded for it.”

When asked if winning medals will becoming a sibling rivalry, Leroux simple smiled and said,

“I definitely think so, I’m hoping to beat her.”

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