Crusaders take another step toward provincial berth

The St. Mary Crusaders got 14 points by forward Christina Buttenham and 12 from guard Hilary Hanaka en route to a 51-43 victory over the St. Ignatius of Loyola Hawks in Oakville on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

That result gave Hamilton St. Mary the 2013 Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference Triple A senior girls’ high school basketball championship. The Crusaders will play host to a representative from the Peel Region on Thursday at 1 p.m. to determine who advances to the Nov. 21-23 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations tournament in London.

(Photo: Gerry Graham)

(Photo: Gerry Graham)

The Crusaders, who led 13-12, 26-17 and 47-30 at the quarter breaks, also got 12 points from MacKenzie Trpcic. Taylor Randall added five.

Sam Pocrnic replied with nine for the Halton squad while Kiana Steinauer, Alex Ruscica and Jaelyne Kirkpatrick chipped in with eight points apiece.

“Especially in the second quarter, we got back to playing our style,” St. Mary coach Nate McKibbon said. “We shared the ball. In half-court, we didn’t give up anything easy. We were quick with the help and quick to rotate.

“We were able to go on a run and build a lead. We got a little tentative in the fourth quarter when they made a comeback but, luckily, we had played well enough up to that point to hold on.”

McKibbon said a couple of Grade 10 players were key in the victory. Trpcic connected on back-to-back three-point shots in the second quarter and Halle Bovell turned in a solid defensive performance.

“It was nice to see the younger kids step up,” he said.

Loyola lost 47-46 to the Nelson Lords last week in the Halton semifinal. Up until that point, the Hawks were riding a 29-game win streak in league play, dating back to Oct. 31, 2011. And over the past three years, the Hawks record was 40-1.

The Crusaders finished first in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association league before eventually losing in the final, 52-44, to the St. Thomas More Knights. The Knights — two-time defending OFSAA Quad A champions – travel to Burlington Nelson on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. for the GHAC Quad A championship. The winner qualifies for OFSAA in Belle River.