Basketball - Written by Kram Staff on Sunday, December 9, 2012 11:42 - 0 Comments
Bobcats Impress in Girls A Division Final
Thanks to some tenacious defence and hot shooting hands the No. 3-ranked Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats upset the No.1-ranked Centennial Coyotes in the Girls Division A final of the Calgary Basketball Classic on Saturday night.
After threatening to pull away for three quarters, only to see the Coyotes will themselves back, the Bobcats were finally able to add the breathing room they needed in the fourth quarter to secure the 70-52 victory and give themselves an extra confidence boost just ahead of the opening week of the regular season.
“I thought it was a really good game,” said Bobcats 5’9″ guard Erin James. “Centennial played their game and we played our game and it just worked out nicely on our end I guess.”
Up until the the final quarter both teams took turns demonstrating their superb skill levels, especially when it came to knocking down long-range jumpers.
The Bobcats managed to escape into the halftime break with a narrow 33-28 lead, led by 5’3″ guard Roslyn Silbernagel’s nine points.
Even though the Bobcats’ defence was solid, part of the locker room discussion must have centred on how to slow down Coyotes’ 5’5″ guard Kassie Chomyn, who scored 13 points in the opening half.
Whatever adjustments were made, they worked. Chomyn was held to just three points in the second half.
“I think we played great defence and that’s where we like to set ourselves at,” said James. “We’re a great defensive team and that’s where we like to start. Our offence starts from our defence and our defence was great tonight.”
James and forward Jade Olayinka led the Bobcats’ scoring with 15 and 13 points respectively.
Not only did Olayinka make a name for herself on the offensive side of the court, she was also a force on the defensive side, particularly in the paint where she fiercely took control of the key to disturb the Coyotes attack as well as snagging all rebounds that came her way.
“We’ve been waiting for her to really push herself and get that fierce competitive side and that definitely came out inside the paint on both sides for us,” said Bobcats head coach Michael Ryall. “She was there on every help side that we needed.”
Beside their stellar defensive efforts, the key to the Bobcats’ win was their ability to consistently knock down shots. The players knew they had the green light from the coaching staff to take the shot if they had a clear look at the hoop, which they managed to set up more often than not thanks to some nifty ball movement.
“We’re not afraid to let them have the green light and let if fly if it’s coming off something that the team has created,” explained Ryall. “We’re ok with them putting up shots as long as it’s something that we’ve done as a team.”
Coaches are typically hard to please when it comes his team’s defence, especially this early in the season, but Ryall was exceptionally pleased how his team stifled a skilled Coyotes offence.
“Defensively, we hadn’t see Centennial yet, and they moved the ball really well so on ball screen, help side, we knew we had to be committed to that,” said Ryall. “That’s what worked on the defensive end tonight.”
“We definitely want to be an in-your-face team on the defensive end, that’s first and foremost, that’s what we prioritize with the girls.”
Winning a pre-season tournament of this magnitude will do wonders for a Bobcats team that clearly has the skill and grit to go all the way this season. It’s still early, but once you add the a massive confidence boost this early in the season one can excuse the Bobcats for feeling that this could be their year.
“It sets us up nicely for the season because we have that confidence that we are a good team and that people are going to have to practice their hardest and play their hardest to beat us, and we know we have to push ourselves harder to keep that number one spot,” explained James.
The Bobcats will face John G. Diefenbaker on Tuesday night in their season opener.