With all hands on deck for the entire day this time around, the St. Francis Sentinels made it clear they are the team to beat this season when it comes to Grade 8 girls’ basketball.
The Sentinels were the cream of the crop at the J.W. Walker Wildcats’ home tournament this past Saturday, rolling to a spotless 3-0 record while outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 66-7, including a 24-7 thumping of the Crossroads Tornadoes in the final.
Scorers for all games were not available at press time.
St. Francis, which settled for silver at the season-opening tourney at Crossroads after losing their last two games following the defection of four members of the squad halfway through the event due to hockey commitments, had its full roster available for its march to the title Saturday.
The depth of that roster was on display from the opening game, which saw the Sentinels whitewash Robert Moore Mustangs #1 26-0.
That was followed by a second-straight shutout—this time 16-0 over the host Wildcats.
St. Francis had the added advantage of playing one less game during the day than Crossroads.
The Tornadoes played a round-robin format against three other teams as part of Pool 1 while the Sentinels were in the three-team Pool 2.
Crossroads was a much-improved group after finishing fourth at its home tourney. That was abundantly clear as they went unbeaten in Pool 1 action.
The Tornadoes’ first victim was the Sturgeon Creek School Sturgeons from Barwick, who fell 14-8 to Crossroads in the opening game of the day for both teams.
Crossroads then steamrolled Robert Moore #2 by a 28-2 margin before beating up on St. Patrick’s School (Atikokan) 24-7 to close out the preliminary round.
In the bronze-medal clash, Sturgeon Creek outlasted Robert Moore #1 in a close 8-6 final.
The Sturgeons wound up second in Pool 1 with a 2-1 record, rebounding from their loss to Crossroads with a nail-biting 8-6 victory over St. Pat’s, followed by a 12-2 decision over Robert Moore #2.
Robert Moore #1 took second in Pool 2 in the preliminaries, going 1-1 with the defeat against St. Francis mixed in with a 19-2 hammering of J.W. Walker.
The fifth-place game came down to a match-up between the host Wildcats and St. Pat’s, which had earned third place in Pool 1 with its lone win of the preliminaries in a 14-6 decision over Robert Moore #2—the only team not to make the playoffs.
J.W. Walker put in a game effort, but St. Pat’s mustered just enough firepower to pull out a 12-10 victory.
All the teams in the tourney, except those based in Fort Frances, will take their shot at the Rainy River District Athletic Association Girls West Regional championship tomorrow at Donald Young School in Emo.
The RRDAA regional championship is set for Feb. 26 at either Fort High or J.W. Walker.