NEW GLASGOW — The North Nova Gryphons have salvaged a reasonably successful girls’ high school basketball season and look forward to future achievements.
“We have a good group coming back,” Gryphons’ head coach Andy MacKay said as the Gryphons were on their way to claiming fifth place last week in the eight-team Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division I championship.
The Gryphons graduate just three players from their present roster — three very good ones in the persons of Lucia MacKay, Courtney Smith and Abbie Delaney.
Jaden MacEachern scored 15 points, while Smith added 14 and Lucia MacKay 13 as the Gryphons clinched fifth place with a 67-55 victory over the Halifax West Warriors on Saturday.
The Gryphons trailed 27-22 at the half but had a strong third quarter as they outscored the Warriors 45-28 in the second half.
“I wish we had won the regional championship but we let that game slip away,” coach MacKay said. “We still fulfilled our goal of fifth place in the division.”
Foul trouble forced the Griffins to go to the bench, but MacKay was pleased with the results.
“The kids stepped in and played well,” he said.
The second-seeded Citadel Phoenix won the championship with an 83-45 victory over the C.P. Allen Cheetahs.
The top-seeded Horton Griffins dumped the Dartmouth Spartans 74-59 in the bronze medal game, while the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals of Antigonish took seventh place with an 80-70 win over the Memorial Marauders from Cape Breton.
North Nova entered the championship seeded eighth after losing to the Royals in the Northumberland Region championship and faced Horton in the opening game on Thursday.
The Gryphons came within two points of the lead in the second half before Horton went on a 16-0 run to prevail 69-55.
MacKay led North Nova with 18 points, while Delaney added nine points.
Citadel downed Halifax West 75-41, while the Cheetahs outscored the Royals 65-54 and Dartmouth outscored Memorial 87-51.
The Gryphons avenged their regional loss by defeated the Royals 74-53 on Friday to qualify for their fifth-place match on Saturday.
The Royals drew within five of the lead early in the third quarter after trailing 37-27 at halftime, but North Nova took over the game, restoring their 10-point lead after the quarter ended and outscoring the Royals 18-7 in the fourth quarter.
Delaney with 23 points led the win, while Smith added 20 and MacKay 15.
Citadel outlasted Dartmouth 64-58, while Horton lost 70-56 to the Cheetahs and the Warriors topped Memorial 70-49.
Gryphons’ Lucia MacKay has the basketball poked away from her during action against the Royals. The Gryphons won the game 74-53. (Goodwin photo)