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Teams get ready for hard court playoff action

Ava Green pulled off an ankle-breaking crossover that would make Allen Iverson blush Monday at FACE, as the rising star led her team to victory to end the regular season. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

The GMAA regular season is over, and it’s time for the hoopsters in the region to show their true quality as basketball playoffs are underway. Some, however, have tragically already had their seasons cut short, while others got underway in their brackets last night.

Playoff-bound

Reece Glover-Kirby and the Howard S. Billings Blazers’ third-place Juvenile boys team play tonight at Selwyn house in the semi-finals. Billings beat Marymount Academy 93-79 Thursday night in the first round.

Kuper Academy’s third place Kodiak Juvenile girls’ team beat Herzliah High School Thursday 28-25. Kuper plays tomorrow.

Gracie Diabo and Sylvia White will look to go back-to-back as champions, having won with the Midget team last year, while Melissa Stacey (Grade 11) and Taya Jacobs (Grade 9) will look for their first banners as Kodiaks.

Those wanting to see some incredible young hard court talent might want to swing by St. George’s School of Montreal February 25 at 4:30 p.m. when the Knights take on Westmount High School.

Ava Green and the Knights Bantam Div. IV girls’ team has a week off after taking the top seed with a perfect 10-0 record.

Ava Green’s coach called the grade seven baller a bright spot on the team’s offence. She scored 16 in the school’s last regular season game. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

The standout guard from Kahnawake torched the FACE Jazz in Monday’s final regular season game, and looks to be one to watch.

Green had 16 points in the 37-26 win, and had the standout play of the game late when she pulled off an ankle-breaking crossover, leaving her defender on the floor on her back looking up in disbelief.

The grade seven baller said all but two girls have played together for the past three years, and she loves the camaraderie and positive vibes on the team.

“It’s great because no one calls each other down,” said Green.

Green’s coach Patrick Powell was not short on praise for his guard.

“Honestly, she’s one of the brighter spots on the team; resilience, she’s a fast learner, hustles 110 per cent on every play. She’s amazing,” said the coach.

Powell and Green like their chances heading into the playoffs, having run away with the regular season.

“We’re looking good if we stay focused and do what we need to do,” said Powell.

Lakeside Academy’s Alex Ross saw the moment to put on her best Steph Curry impersonation, and did just that.

“I just took the shot,” said Ross. “They told me not to, but it was just right.”

Her smooth-as-silk, 16-footer tied Tuesday’s game at Trafalgar School to end the third quarter, but, unfortunately for Lakeside, it was downhill from there.

Trafalgar dominated the fourth quarter and won 26-22.

“I don’t know what happened in the last quarter,” said Ross. “We got tired I guess.”

Tyra Dearhouse and Drea Norton play alongside Ross with Lakeside, and the team will now focus on the playoffs starting next week in a rematch against Trafalgar.

Tyra Dearhouse, Drea Norton and Alex Ross have their sights set on the playoffs that begin next week. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

Just missed the cut

Kahnawake Survival School’s Juvenile boys’ team was meant to play its final game of the season at St. George’s last Thursday with a great chance of making the playoffs, but the team was forced to forfeit due to lack of players.

The forfeit meant the team would not be playing postseason ball this year.

The playoff elimination capped a frustrating season for a team that showed serious potential.

“This year was a trying year for KSS boys basketball,” said rookie coach Walter Whitebean. “We tried to change the mentality of the boys where education is more important than the sport. That it’s something that has to be earned.”

As a result, Whitebean added, many of his players would spend one afternoon or many in tutoring rather than practice, which made developing team plays and chemistry even more difficult, particularly when the team competed for gym space to practice.

Negatives aside, Whitebean and fellow coach Merrick Diabo were proud that the boys worked to raise their academics, and compete.

“I know we had a good season,” said Whitebean. “We lost games we should have won and lost games that could have been closer. Our 2-10 record doesn’t show how good of a team we are.”

The coaches will now work to assemble boys and girls teams for the upcoming First Nations Education Council Games. Tryouts for grades 7-11 will take place after March break.

Kuper’s Midget girls team that had a slew of talent was hit hard with injuries this season, and will have to wait for next year.

The team included Jillian Diabo, Bonnie Zachary, Olivia Rice, and Kaksa’tahno:ron Deer, but three of the four local up-and-comers were forced to sit for spells with injuries.

Tyra Dearhouse was a solid presence on both ends of the court for Lakeside this season, as the Juvenile team transitions from regular season to playoff action. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

sports@easterndoor.com

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