By Darryl G. Smart
Come playoff time, it’s usually the veterans that take over and lead the charge. But on Wednesday night, Charli Thornewell was an exception to the rule.
The Grade 10 student led the charge, scoring 21 of her game-high 23 points in the second half as the Holy Trinity Titans edged out the Simcoe Sabres to claim the athletic Association of Brant Haldimand Norfolk West Division senior girls basketball title at home.
“I haven’t played in a game like this in so long,” Thornewell said. “It feels so good. I haven’t played on a good team like this in so long. And to win it is great.”
After trailing the Sabres after the first quarter by one and everything knotted up at halftime 16-16, Thornewell became the difference maker in the third quarter, hitting two three-pointers to help her score 12 points during a run that opened up a 33-25 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Titans’ rally didn’t scare off the Sabres, who were led by Diana Patel and her three-point shooting. Having already hit one in the first and two more in the third, Patel struck three more times from beyond the arc in the fourth to keep the Sabres in the neck-and-neck battle. But it was Sophia Bomberry’s first and only bucket of the game from just outside the key with a minute to go that gave the Titans a lead they wouldn’t let go of.
“Sophia’s shot was huge,” Titan’s Joanna Smith said. “Her shot and the way Charli played, really made this a huge team win.”
Thornewell and Smith said the difference for them Tuesday was staying calm.
“It was such a stressful game,” Thornewell said. “When they got off to a great start, you could feel it. Then the fourth quarter came and it was so stressful. But we really played great as a team. We settled in and stayed calm.”
Smith said they expected the Sabres to come out hard. They just had to weather the storm.
“We weren’t surprised by them at all. They’re a great team with good players< “Smith, who had 12 points said. “We stopped making mistakes and I think we communicated better. Our defence really stepped up. We were able to keep a handle on their leading scorer.”
Also scoring for the Titans were Emma-Jay Broer 5, Sophia Correia 3, Abbey Benaway 2, Haley VanMaele 2.
While Patel led the offence for the Sabres, Emma Bradacs went 14-for-16 from the free throw line. Also scoring for the Sabres were: Natalie Suprun 8, Madie Erauw 2, Melody Weaver 1.
The Titans and Sabres punched a ticket to the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association AA championship on November 18 at Simcoe Composite School.
Before the CWOSSA tournament, the Titans will take on the Hagersville Hurricanes in the first-ever AABHN D9 final. That game is set for November 15 at 3pm, at Holy Trinity.
The Hurricanes earned a spot in the AABHN senior girls basketball final thanks to its 33-26 victory over the Cayuga Warriors Wednesday.
Before the AABHN final, the Hurricanes will be in action on Monday, when they host the Delhi Raiders in the CWOSSA A qualifier at 3pm.