Northern girls wins bronze at hoops tournament

Barry Wright

The Northern Vikings girls basketball club came home with bronze medals the recent Ontario high school “AAA” tournament in Windsor.

Following victories over Peterborough, Newmarket and Kingston in the preliminary round, the Vikings drew the top-seed and three-time defending champions from Hamilton-St. Mary’s in the semi-finals, and lost 67-49 to the Crusaders.  Brianne Ferguson led the Vikings with 11 points in a losing cause.

But, the 5th-seeded Vikings put that loss behind them and came from behind to defeat sixth-ranked Toronto-Oakwood, 56-50 in the third-place game.

Northern started slowly, falling behind the Lady Barons by 10 points after the first quarter and 14 points at the half, but battled back to narrow the deficit to one point after three quarters before taking control of the game in the fourth.

Lauren Handy, who recently committed to an NCAA basketball scholarship at the University of Vermont, led Northern in the medal game with 11 points.

Handy, her younger sister Carmen, and Marissa Mara were top scorers for the Vikings in games earlier in the tournament.

Prior to the provincials, veteran coach John Thrasher said he wasn’t certain how his club would perform because of a rash of injuries, but was happy with the outcome.

Taking four Juniors from the SWOSSAA champion team gave the team depth at guard, which it was lacking because of injuries, said Thrasher.

“It was a nice finish for the six grade 12 players we had,” he added.

Hamilton-St. Mary’s went on to win its fourth straight provincial championship with a victory over Brantford-St. John’s College in the title game.