Chemistry helps Intermediate girls in drive for board title
Back in the fall, the Hawks boys football team created history, capturing the first senior championship in school history and representing Sudbury's hopes at NOSSA, the northern high school championships.
The Grade 7/8 crew, under the direction of Head Coach Steve Sheehan, capped off an outstanding season last week in winning the Rainbow Elementary School Board Championship.
Their 34-32 victory over R.L. Beattie allowed the Hawks to close the books on an undefeated season in all games involving Rainbow Board competition. The team's only losses against came in exhibition outings with partial lineups on hand.
"We're lucky here at Lively," Sheehan said. "There always seems to be a high level of athleticism that we get every year.
“We had an interesting mix this season — some girls that play competitive basketball for (Sudbury) Jam, some girls that play recreational basketball for WYBL (Walden Youth Basketball League) and other girls that have only ever touched a basketball in phys ed class — so quite a range."
However, one and all agreed bringing this collective talent together and forming a unified crew was paramount to their success.
"You would think that it would be harder than it actually was," said 13-year-old Brooke Smith, a competitive volleyball player by nature. "A lot of the girls that play Jam know that a lot of us are not as competitive as them in basketball.
"But even the girls who just started playing got pretty good really fast. The girls that have a lot of experience, they have so much instinct, that they know what they wanted to do.”
“But they were very patient and basically helped the girls that didn't have any basketball experience learn movement on the floor," Sheehan added. "The girls that play competitive basketball were a huge asset in helping out the girls that weren't always sure where to go when you don't have the ball."
That approach paid huge dividends, helping raise the overall ability of the entire lineup while creating an environment where everyone could enjoy the season.
"If I did something wrong, they would just correct me," said Meggie Ransom, a Grade 8 student and self-acknowledged recreational player at heart. "At the beginning, I thought we might do pretty well, but I had no clue that we were actually going to win the (championship)."
That team chemistry came in handy, especially in light of the team's propensity to rely on the comeback in recording win after win.
"We would always be kind of behind, in the beginning, but in the second half, that's when we just kind of took off and scored a lot of our baskets," Smith said.
Despite their success, the intimidating environment that is the school board final, with a jam-packed gymnasium filled with screaming youngsters from both schools, still proved daunting to the talented Lively ladies.
"The other school was louder than ours," said Ransom with a smile. "It's hard to focus on the game when you have so many fans in the bleachers."
But focus they did, eventually getting the better of R.L. Beattie, a team that appears poised to become a force to be reckoned with.
"R.L. Beattie have a lot of players on their team that are younger," said Sheehan. "They are going to be something else next year and the year after, because they were tough this year."
"Our coach helped us win that game," Ransom said. "He just kept us going, and would tell us that we could win this."
And win they did, continuing a Lively tradition that is gaining momentum as 2013-2014 comes to an end.