Laval ready for female AAAA basketball provincials

Nicholas Mercer
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Cavaliers kick off tournament tonight( March 11) with game against Holy Heart

The Laval Cavaliers senior high female basketball team begins its quest for the AAAA tier 1 tonight (March 13) at Gonzaga High in St. John’s.

The Laval Cavaliers senior female basketball team begin AAAA tier 1 provincial play tonight at 6:45 p.m. Members of the team are: front (l-r) — Cassidy Barry, Shauna Griffiths, Heather Pike, Hailey Fudge, Brittany McCarthy, Ashley O'Keefe and Bailey Lannon; back — head coach Amy O'Reilly, Candace Ennis, Chantel O'Keefe, Allison Kelly, manager Brittany McGrath and assistant coach Pam Constantine.

Ranked as one of the top eight teams in the province, the Placentia-based Cavaliers square off with the Holy Heart female Highlanders at 6:45 p.m. to kick –start the tourney.

“We have a good chance at the semis,” said coach Amy O’Reilly of her team’s chances.

The team heads into the tournament on a bit of a roll. They reached the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Cup, which features the top eight female teams in the province.

The Cavaliers eventually lost to the Booth Braves in that game. Player Shauna Griffiths would later be named to the tournament’s all-star team.

In the AAAA tourney, Laval will be facing Holy Heart, O’Donel High in Mount Pearl and Booth Memorial in St. John’s.

“We have a really good division,” said O’Reilly.

The Cavaliers have had some really good practices lately, according to the coach, and have looked relaxed despite the huge tournament on the horizon.

“I think they’ll be ready,” said O’Reilly. “They’ve been playing well heading into this weekend.”

Depending on who you ask the Laval falls between the No. 3 seed and the No. 5 seed with Gonzaga and O’Donel.

The Cavaliers have recent success with both those teams

It’s a great seeding for a team that was hosting the AAA tournament just four years ago.

“We’ve been working to get here for probably four or five years now,” said O’Reilly.

 

Right on pace

O’Reilly said her team is “right on pace” with the goals laid when she started coaching this team a couple of years ago.

That year the Cavaliers captured the AAA title before jumping to the top high school level in this province the year after.

It was not an easy transition as the team took its lumps, but that was too be expected.

“Everyone knew this was the plan,” said O’Reilly. “We’d move up to AAAA and probably have a couple of years of finding ourselves and get our skill set up, but we’re right there now.”

 

Getting up the floor

The Cavaliers head into the tournament featuring a deep lineup.

One through 12, Laval can come at teams with many different, effective looks.

“We’re fit and athletic,” said O’Reilly.

With this in mind, the Cavaliers like to get out and run the floor.

“We try to get to the rim as much as we can,” said the coach.

Making the above process easier is the fact some of the Laval players have length and can cause disruptions in the passing lanes.

“They can be good defenders when they want to be,” said O’Reilly.

With the tournament hours away, the coach said it was up to her players to decide to the team’s fate.

“Who knows what could happen,” she said. “It’s up to them. Whatever they want to do, it’s in their hands.”

Members of the team are: Cassidy Barry, Shauna Griffiths, Heather Pike, Hailey Fudge, Brittany McCarthy, Ashley O'Keefe, Bailey Lannon, Candace Ennis, Chantel O'Keefe and Allison Kelly.

 

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: AAA

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