In the end they were simply overmatched, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort by the Muskie senior girls’ basketball team.
The black-and-gold saw their impressive season come to an end as they were swept by the Hammarskjold Vikings at the best-of-three NWOSSAA championship held Friday and Saturday in Thunder Bay.
The Vikings now head to the all-Ontarios that are slated for tomorrow through Saturday in London while the Muskies are left to look forward to the future–one that is bright in the eyes of head coach Gord McCabe.
“I have coached over 40 teams in my 35 years of coaching,” he noted. “I cannot think of any team that I have not enjoyed but a few have been special, and this team is definitely one of those.
“We had to work for everything this season,” McCabe said. We felt we were a better team than Dryden all year and yet we lost to them three different times, by two [points], by four, and another game in overtime.
“However, this team never doubted their ability to win NorWOSSA and backed it up on the court,” he enthused.
“We faced a team in Hammarskjold that was more talented than anyone we have faced all year and after we realized we could play with them, we gave them everything they could handle.
“One of our team goals at the start of the year was to be the best team we could be and I thought in Game 2 against Hammarskjold, we accomplished that goal,” he lauded, adding that “as a coach, you can’t ask for more than that.”
It was dominant weekend for the host Vikings as they routed the Muskies 58-21 in the NWOSSAA opener Friday.
Ellie Petsnick led the way offensively with six points, with Jamie Spencer adding five and Grace Petsnick four.
Then in the second game Saturday morning, the Vikings eked out a tight 41-35 victory.
Fort High had trimmed the Vikings’ lead to as little as 22-18 at halftime in that one but ultimately came up short in the end.
Grace Petsnick and Jamie Spencer led the Muskies with eight points apiece.
Bella Ward added six points while Ellie Petsnick and Sarah Larson each netted five.
Janissa Judson tallied three points to round out the Muskies’ offence.
“I don’t think there was any real turning point in Game 1 as they were pretty much a step ahead of us for the entire first half, and by then it was over,” McCabe said.
“In Game 2, if there was a turning point, it was probably in the fourth quarter,” he recalled.
“We had been down by one at the end of the third but scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to go up by three, and we had two or three good looks after that and another basket would have put us up by five.
“You could see that Hammarskjold was getting a little panicky and their coach was very upset with them, but we didn’t put that nail in the coffin,” McCabe noted.
“The shots we took were good ones, they just didn’t fall, and I can think of at least two that did everything but go in.
“A little later in the quarter, Danielle Charles–their second-best shooter–made a three-pointer that banked in from a sharp angle and that really hurt,” he added.