In a pair of strikingly similar matchups, the Lively District Hawks (girls) and Northeastern Cougars (boys) prevailed by identical scores of 34-32 before a jammed-packed gymnasium at Northeastern Public School in Garson.
Completing an undefeated 2013-2014 season against Rainbow Board opponents, the Hawks received a 22-point effort from Jaclyn Groom that included 16 second-half points in putting away the young but talented R.L. Beattie Barons.
Delaney Bourget (13 pts) and Bronwyn Mantle (11) led the charge for Beattie, who trailed 13-11 at the half and went toe to toe with their more experienced opponents from start to finish.
The Lively Hawks championship roster is comprised of Brooke Smith, Meggie Ransom, Jaclyn Groom, Taylin Legault, Karly Kennedy, Clairece McFarland, Tiia Nurmikivi, Sam Brown, Lexi Johnson, Regan Toffoli-Thompson, Jordan Heffern, Mia Filion, Josee Filion, Kate Dahmer, Emma Hayes and head coach Steve Sheehan.
The boys encounter was equally as intense, as Northeastern opened an early lead that they maintained right through until the final minute of play. With Aiden Martel and Cameron Parent cuing the comeback, the Pinecrest Panthers moved in front for the first time at 32-31.
The Cougars responded as Liam LaPierre threaded the needle on a pass to Adam Bertrand in the paint, with Bertrand sinking the basket for his seventh and eighth points of the game.
Following a pair of missed Pinecrest free throws, Brennan LaPierre made good on one of two, increasing the Northeastern advantage to 34-32. With time ticking down, Michael Babcock put his aggressive approach to defence to good use, forcing one final pass that was intercepted as the Cougars held on.
Babcock finished with an even dozen points to lead the way for Northeastern, with Bertrand (8) and Brennan LaPierre (7) not all that far behind. Parent led all game scorers with a 16-point effort for Pinecrest, while Martel chipped in with 10.
The win by Northeastern was the first against Pinecrest this year, following losses in the Lasalle Tournament final (29-27) and at the Confederation Tournament (21-20) as well.
The championship team included the following players: Liam LaPierre, Brennan LaPierre, Michael Babcock, Adam Bertrand, Riley Shea, Jarod Clarke, Austin Pawluk, Julien Giroux, Ben Doucette, Aiden Lewis, Bailey Waugh and coaches Dale Beausoleil, James Eady and Lachlan Macgregor.