Lady Gens capture 11th consecutive WECSSAA basketball title

 

WECSSAA title1 WECSSAA title2By Ron Giofu

 

Make it 11 for the General Amherst Lady Gens.

The Lady Gens won the school’s 11th straight WECSSAA basketball championship Friday night, capturing the AA title with a 62-17 victory over the Essex Red Raiders. Senior girls teams have won WECSSAA at the AA or AAA level since 2003.

Despite the win, the celebration was short-lived as the Lady Gens swiftly shifted their focus to Wednesday night’s SWOSSAA title game.

“This is done. We’ve got to get focused on our next game,” said co-captain Aleah Marton.

The Grade 11 point guard scored a team-high 17 points, including 15 in the first quarter. Marton would score the Lady Gens’ first eight points.

Marton said layup opportunities were there and she decided to take those opportunities to get things rolling for the Lady Gens as when they find offence early, it helps Amherst in the long run,

“I took the lead at the beginning of the game,” she said. “I figured we needed it.”

With the SWOSSAA championship game being on the road, Marton said a lot of her teammates may not be used to having large crowds of opposing fans “chirping” them so they will have to get used to that quickly. The Lady Gens will have to be focused and ready to practice heading into that game, she added.

“Next week is going to be an eye-opener,” she said after last Friday night’s game.

The Lady Gens built a 27-3 lead after one quarter but a sub-par second frame – actually won by Essex 7-6 – saw Amherst go into the half leading 33-10. The Lady Gens led 44-17 after three quarters and blanked Essex 18-0 in the final quarter to seal the win.

Head coach Dom Silvaggio said his team started out fine with a good transition game, but was displeased with other portions of the game, particularly the second quarter.

“We were very sloppy in the second quarter,” said Silvaggio.

While he said he started substituting more frequently when they built a lead, Silvaggio said that is not an excuse as the bench players can still contribute and play better. He said they made too many turnover and made too many mistakes. After the semi-final win over Brennan, he added the Lady Gens missed too many layups and free throws, something that has proven to cost them games earlier in the season.

“We went into a lull and we were very sloppy,” he said. “We showed a little bit of life in the second half and closed out OK.”

In addition to Marton’s 17 points, Olivia Starling had 10 points, Sydney Emerson had nine and Jaylin VandeBovenkamp scored seven.

In addition to the 45-point win in the final, General Amherst won their semi-final 57-7 over Brennan and the quarterfinal 65-10 over Leamington. Silvaggio was hoping his team would have been challenged more heading into SWOSSAA.

“SWOSSAA is going to be a different story,” he said. “Hopefully we can get past it. This is probably going to be one of our tougher ones.”

The Lady Gens feature only two players that will ending their high school basketball careers at season’s end – VandeBovenkamp and Robin Kellam – and the rest of the team is young with at least four Grade 10’s playing significant roles. Silvaggio said winning another WECSSAA title is still important as it is the first for some of his players.

“It’s special for them,” he said. “It comes to the point where people just expect it but they worked hard this season.”

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