Irish topple Cyclone
Emma Hemphill made a triumphant return to her old stomping grounds.
The 17-year-old, Grade 12 student at Notre Dame attended Holy Cross Secondary School before moving south this year when her family relocated to Welland.
Hemphill netted 14 points on her old court as the Fighting Irish defeated the E.L. Crossley Cyclone 59-36 in an opening round game Tuesday at the Second Annual BPSN Girls Basketball Tournament.
“It was kind of weird but a very good feeling,” Hemphill said. “I got to see a lot of my old friends because Holy Cross played before us so I got to see old teammates.
“It was kind of a good feeling before I played to have so much support and good luck.”
Hemphill connected on four three-pointers in the second half.
“Once you get into a rhythm it makes it a lot easier and it just comes naturally,” she said of her long-range shooting.
But Hemphill also knows when to back off.
“I have a rule with myself once I start missing a couple in a row I’ll hold off for a bit and then come back to it when I get some confidence back. You don’t want to keep jacking (them up) and missing.”
Irish coach Pat O’Leary is thrilled to have Hemphill on his roster.
“I have some new young girls who are talented but she’s a leader,” O’Leary said. “She’s talented and stepped right in the leadership role with Nicole Pullar, who took the year off last year. These two Grade 12s coming back really adds stability to a young team.”
Hemphill enjoyed playing in a tournament setting again.
“Obviously it was exciting because it’s our first tournament in a while so we wanted to play hard,” she said. “We have a good group of girls who get along, work as a team, talk to each other and have fun.”
O’Leary feels the tournament will give his young team a chance find out about themselves.
“Last year we got back on the court which was great but we only had a handful of games so it was nice that we’re able to gel a little bit more and get through these games,” he said. “They’re great girls. They work really hard, they listen really well and they’re athletic — they run up and down the court.”
The Cyclone were missing injured veterans Julia Moldenhauer and Ava Young.
“We have lot of new players that haven’t played before so the pressure was a big thing the new players didn’t adjust to very well,” Crossley coach Aaron Belding said. “It’s going to be a learning situation all the way through. That’s why we play tournaments.”
Irish 59 Cyclone 36
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Notre Dame guard Emma Hemphill with 14 points.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Hemphill 14; Nicole Dixon 12; Olivia Bittman 6; Nicole Pullar 6; Ava DeChellis 4; Lila DiPietro 4; Abbey Grande 4; Grace Papineau 2; Kyra diGaetano 2; Elyse Carmichael 2.
E.L. Crossley Cyclone: Kaitlyn Brophy 21; Tiffany Tsakanikas 6; I’Jayah Simmonds 5; Grace Sodtke 3; Sarah Lowry 1.
Up next: Consolation quarter-finals at Governor Simcoe: Thorold vs. Brebeuf at 2:30 p.m. and Denis Morris vs. St. Francis at 4 p.m. Championship quarter-finals at Governor Simcoe: Myer vs. Simcoe at 5:30 p.m. and Holy Cross vs. Eden at 7 p.m. Consolation quarter-finals at Churchill: Crossley vs. Churchill juniors at 2:30 p.m. and St. Mike’s vs. Smithville Christian at 4 p.m. Championship quarter-finals at Churchill: Churchill seniors vs. Saint Paul at 5:30 p.m. and Notre Dame vs. Blessed Trinity at 7 p.m.
Myer 56 Thorold 25
Jenna Saddler scored 17 and Marielle Zapata 15 as the A.N. Myer Marauders topped the Thorold Golden Eagles in opening round action.
Also scoring for Myer were: Emma Vendittelli 9; Maia Walker 8 Maggie Mannell 4; Sophia Kotsanis 3.
Scoring for Thorold were: Ava Conway 10; K. Hales 5; Erin Gilleta 4; Portia Watts 3; Lylah Fitzpatrick 2; Tiana Hicks 1.
The tournament is made possible with the help of primary sponsors, Women Networking in Sports of Niagara and Tora Inc., and secondary sponsors, Alltech Automotive, St. Catharines CYO Basketball, Pelham Panthers basketball, Niagara Falls Red Raiders basketball, Niagara Rangers basketball and the Niagara District Referees Association.
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