In the championship win over Senator Gershaw Gators, Brooke Wiest led the way with 21 points. Megan Kondor had 15 points and Janelle Heerink added 12 in the 65-43 Queens victory.
“We just came out hopping right from the start where we jumped out to a 22-14 lead after the first quarter, then we were up 34-19 at half-time,” said Allen Matthews, head coach of the Vauxhall Queens girls basketball team. “The only quarter we didn’t win was the last one and by that time we put a lot of our bench in. Especially in girls basketball, you never know if a team is going to let up and when you see that half-time lead you can think you’re safe. But 16 points can evaporate in a hurry. But we kept plugging away and working hard. Especially defensively, that’s our bread and butter where we are able to hold teams to a reasonable amount.”
What has stood out for Matthews about the 2013-2014 version for the Vauxhall Queens girls basketball team is its work ethic and heart.
“There is no give up in them and that’s nice to see when you’re trying to get the kids to buy into a system,” said Matthews.
The Queens toughest task of its home tournament came in its semi-final in a tight 30-28 defensive battle against Erle Rivers in which Wiest had 10 points.
“What it boiled down to is we gutted it out. We had the lead and they had a chance at the end where their best shooter shot a three-pointer with about five seconds left. We got pressure on it where she hit the front of the rim and we got the rebound and ran the clock out,” said Matthews. “There were a few hiccups at the end that could have gone either way, but in the whole scope of things they kept it pretty calm, probably a lot calmer than the coach,” Matthews continued with a chuckle. “Feeling like you can win those close ones adds to your confidence. It’s still early, but anytime you can come out on top in a situation like that it helps.”
The Queens opening game was Vauxhall earning a 48-24 win over Matthew Halton in which Trey Tashiro led all Queens scorers with 16 points. Wiest poured in 14 points.
Up big at half-time, the Queens took its foot off the gas pedal and gave a lot of playing time to its bench.
“We have a big bench, so to put in every girl is tough, but we still ended up winning every quarter,” said Matthews. “Winning a tournament early can go a long way where when you have that good start, the kids get that confidence. We are at 4-1 to start the season, but say you start the season 0-5 it can be tough. Confidence is high right now with the girls and we have a couple of girls who just don’t want to lose and will work to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Vauxhall Queens return to River Ridge League competition on the road Jan. 8 against Bow Island Gators.