Thursday, April 18, 2024

QC upset the champs


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ANOTHER DAY, another upset.
WIBISCO’s title game will be without Graydon Sealy for the time ever after Ashlee Daniel had nine of her team’s last 12 points, including the go-ahead free throw to lead Queen’s College in Thursday’s 40-38 semi-final shocker over girls’ basketball’s nine-time defending champs at the Wildey Gym.
It was the most unexpected of results, especially coming just two days after pre-tournament favourites Springer lost a similarly stunning thriller to Combermere.
Worse yet, the upset didn’t seem like it would be on the cards, not after the queens – who appeared in all 12 previous championship games – strolled to a double-digit win in the lone previous matchup between the teams this season.
But Daniel came up clutch to end a wildly up-and-down showing, overcoming foul trouble and a previously poor effort by capping a 23-point performance with one big basket after another down the stretch of a tight back-and-forth contest.
Shonica Wharton had looked the game’s certain heroine after leading a memorable Graydon Sealy rally with eight points in succession in the fourth to put the queens back up by two inside the final three minutes.
However, Daniel went one better, with the talented combo guard following up a deft floater with two layups in succession and the eventual go-ahead free throw (37-36) with 1:31 remaining.
Wharton fouled out on the next possession before Daniel get a rebound of her own miss to score and made the contest a two-possession game (40-36) inside the final minute.
Graydon Sealy still appeared to have life, though, as Ashantia Phillips hit a jumper before Nia Forde turned over the ball on the following possession with 23.8 seconds left.
But the champs put the inbounds pass right into Daniel’s hands and never got back the ball after Daniel also tracked down the offensive board off the second of two missed free throws by Nakish Joseph.
It proved the much-needed bounceback for Daniel, who sat out half of the third quarter after picking up her third foul while struggling to even get the ball against a box-and-one defence geared to denying her the ball.
Queen’s College’s play never dropped off, though, as Vanessa Bobb and Ashley Marshall keyed several defensive stops which Joseph converted into points to extend the team’s lead to 28-21.
However, Ashley Rock closed the third quarter with a left-handed drive as part of a 5-0 finish to the period before Wharton’s back-to-back baskets (30-28) gave Graydon Sealy their first lead of the second half.
Wharton and Rock led Graydon Sealy with ten points apiece. Daniel was the only Queen’s College player in double digits. The final is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at the same venue.

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