Over the weekend, the Lancers added an exclamation mark to their statement, emerging victorious in the Laurentian University Jr./Sr. Girls High School Basketball Tournament and topping a field that also included Lockerby and Lo-Ellen.
In fact, it was an all-Sudbury final as Lasalle bounced the Knights 46-43, building up a 14-point third-quarter lead and holding on as Lo-Ellen rallied in the fourth.
Karli Marcotte paced the offence for the winners, netting 15 points, with Kristin Ferguson and Lindsay Scruton chipping in with eight and seven respectively. Laura Graham added six points before being sidelined for the final 12 minutes or so, suffering a nasty welt over her right eye after falling hard to the floor while driving the basket.
Lo-Ellen sparkplug Marianne Alarie topped all scorers, finishing with a game-high 27-point effort and earning the title of tournament MVP. Shelby Ernst added another eight. Lasalle trailed 7-6 after the opening quarter, but gradually assumed control with their balanced attack, leading 23-19 at the half and 37-30 heading to the final eight minutes.
Named a tournament all-star, Scruton has suffered through a pair of very tough years with the senior Lancers, especially given the traditional elite state of the girls basketball program at the New Sudbury school.
One of just two Grade 12 students currently on the roster, Scruton said she is pleased with the turnaround that she has seen this fall. "I like the chemistry that we have, even though we haven't all played together," she said, shortly after the championship affair.
While Scruton and others have been pleasantly surprised with the rapid contribution of the incoming class of youthful talent, she can still provide a few words of wisdom, part and parcel of being down this path before.
"They should continue to expect a lot faster basketball," Scruton said. "They have to be able to play hard on defence, because nobody is going to take it easy on them."
The Lancers advanced to the finals after earning a measure of revenge with a 48-39 win over Lockerby in semifinal play, while Lo-Ellen nipped the Thériault Flammes of Timmins, 43-40, in the remaining semifinal.
The scoring line in the gold medal encounter was as follows: Lasalle 46 - Karli Marcotte (15), Kristin Ferguson (8), Lindsay Scruton (7), Laura Graham (6), Keegan Anderson (5), Carissa Laurin (3), Soheila Homayed (2)
Lo-Ellen 43 - Marianne Alarie (27), Shelby Ernst (8), Bailey Cook (4), McKayla Linton (2), Chelsea Noble-Poland (2)
The St. Basil's Saints (Sault Ste. Marie) walked away with second flight honours, slipping past the St. Joseph Scollard Hall Bears (North Bay) 48-45. Cracking the tournament all-star team roster were teammates Karli Marcotte and Lindsay Scruton of Lasalle, Lo-Ellen's Marianne Alarie, as well Courtney White of St. Basil's.
SDSSAA Division I play continues Wednesday with Lo-Ellen back to face Lasalle at the Lancerdome and Notre-Dame playing host to Lockerby.