By Chris Marchand
The Dryden Eagles Senior Girls Basketball team settled for NWOSSA silver Saturday morning in their home gym after finding themselves outgunned by Thunder Bay’s St. Ignatius Falcons.
The well-rounded, sharp-shooting Falcons earned a 67-21 win the night previous and sealed their trip to the All-Ontario High School ‘AA’ championships with a 70-19 win shortly after breakfast the next day.
The blowouts aside, the real story of the season was more likely found while grinding it out against Kenora’s Beaver Brae Broncos in pitched battles all season long.
“The NorWOSSA finals was a big accomplishment for us,” said Coach Albert Tremonti. “We’d started out slow, beat Fort (Frances) by some close margins and lost to Kenora by one point on several occasions. It just seemed like we were beating ourselves. The kids really improved. In the final game in Kenora, we led throughout the whole game and we won by six points. It wasn’t a huge margin of victory, but we carried the play through the whole game in front of a Kenora-friendly crowd. The kids came together and figured things out and by the end we were playing our best basketball.”
While the NorWOSSA basketball ranks have tended in recent years to be dominated by one school over another, Tremonti says the recent season was marked by a terrific sense of parity between the Muskies, Broncos and Eagles. While the Muskies program tends to lead the way, Tremonti says injuries got in the way for the Fort Frances squad.
“Injuries are one of those things you can’t really predict or control very well,” he said. “We were fortunate that we didn’t have a lot of injuries — didn’t lose any players to injury time. Kenora was the surprise of the league — they led the league from day one and finished the regular season in first. I didn’t really see that coming, they really turned themselves around from last season.”
Looking to next year, Tremonti says his young squad will lose just two seniors, Laura Spalding and Rhiannon Lee.
“My hats off to them,” said Tremonti. “They came into a situation where the coach was different and most of the players were different and they adapted really well and really made it easy for us and the new kids. We have 10 kids coming back, so the future is quite bright.”