Centennial Spartans keep senior girls’ hoops title
GUELPH – The Centennial Spartans withstood a fourth-quarter rally by the Ross Royals to retain the District 10 high school senior girls’ basketball championship crown.
“It’s so exciting. This whole season, I knew right from the start I wanted it so bad,” Centennial’s Jenna Davey said. “It’s amazing that we got back-to-back wins from last year, too.”
The members of the current Spartans senior squad were either members of last year’s D10 champion senior or junior teams as Centennial swept both titles in the pandemic-shortened season.
Saturday, the Royals whittled a 12-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to a single-point gap in the final minute of the game before the Spartans eventually prevailed 52-49.
“They’re a strong team with a lot of good players,” Centennial coach Toffer Treiguts said of the Royals. “We got off to a hot start and then that fourth quarter they put a good defence on and we didn’t execute when we needed to execute.”
Ross trailed by eight with 3:40 to go before quietly closing in on the Spartans who were content to keep the ball to the outside in an attempt to run down the clock. When the gap fell to one point (47-46) with 46.8 seconds to go, the Spartans hit a three-pointer and a couple of foul shots to move out of danger.
“We got a little nervous, but in the end we knew we wanted it so bad,” Davey said. “We had a bit of a stumble there and we let it get a little closer than we liked, but in the end we were still able to pull it out. It’s amazing.”
The Spartans led all the way, scoring their first basket eight seconds into the game. They were ahead 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, 33-21 at halftime and 44-32 after the third quarter.
Jenna Davey led Centennial with 23 points while Bodhana Sivagurunathan had nine, Kayla Hooper had seven, Ryann Hay had six, Hayley McMillan had five and Nica Borghese had two.
The Curvans, Ailani and Sierra, had 16 points apiece for Ross while Devin Eddy had six, Leah Van Milligen had four, Charlie Capper had three and Maren Mau had two.
Centennial Spartans had finished the regular season in first place at 9-1 while Ross was third at 7-3.
The Spartans won the title for the eighth time having previously won in 1991, 1994 to 1996 inclusive, 1998, 2014 and 2021. They’re to host the CWOSSA AAA tournament Friday and Saturday at their school.
“We’re so excited,” Davey said of hosting the CWOSSA tournament. “We didn’t get a home tournament (this season), all of our other teams did. This is going to be amazing with the school spirit there. We’re so excited.”
Playing at home can add extra pressure, but the Spartans don’t see it that way.
“I think it’ll motivate us more if anything,” Davey said. “We love playing in our home because we get all the students to come out and watch us.”
“No pressure, we get to play in our own gym,” Treiguts said. “We get to go home and sleep in our own beds and play in our own gym.”
Centennial is to play the D6/11 champion (either Waterloo-Oxford Crusaders of Baden or Elmira Lancers) Friday at 9 a.m. and the D1/7 representative (Owen Sound Wolves) at 1:30 p.m. in preliminary pool play. Top two in each of the two three-team pools advance to the semifinals set for 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The final is to go Saturday at 7 p.m.
“There are a lot of strong teams,” Treiguts said. “CWOSSA is never easy. If you get to CWOSSA, every team is strong and you have to play two good days of basketball to be able to win it.”
And the Spartans have to play their usual way to be in the running for the regional title and a berth in the provincial tournament.
“Team basketball, that’s what we’re about,” Treiguts said. “We move the ball and we’ve got to play as a team.”
The Lourdes Crusaders, ousted in the semifinals, are D10’s representative in the AA tournament at Galt Collegiate Institute Friday and Saturday. They’re to play John Diefenbaker of Hanover in the opening round Friday at 12 p.m. Their second game will be at either 6 p.m. if they won their opener or 7:30 p.m. if they lost their opener.
Semifinals are set for Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and the championship match is to follow at 8 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal