TORONTO – SPORTS – The stars were out in Kingston on Saturday night at the Queen’s Athletics & Recreation Centre as the best OUA women’s basketball players showcased their skills on the hardwood in front of a near capacity crowd. Team Clarke ended up edging Team Vallee by a 71-69 margin.
Lakehead Thunderwolves standout Jylisa Williams stole the show putting up 27 points to go along with 12 boards and five assists in a losing effort, but was named the Porter Airlines MVP.
“It was fun and games,” said game MVP Jylisa Williams from the Lakehead Thunderwolves after the game. “It’s all fun and games through three quarters but then you get to that fourth quarter and everyone really wants to win, shoes tied up and we were ready to go.”
In the first quarter it was the single season and single game OUA record holder Williams who got things started putting Team Vallée ahead early with six of their first 11 points on the night. Western Mustang Maddy Horst displayed her grit as she got to the hoop for a lay-in plus the foul which she converted for a three point play giving Team Vallée a 15-11 lead.
Team Clarke got a surge from McMaster Marauder Clare Kenney who picked up a block on the defensive end and followed up with an easy two from inside the paint cutting the deficit to just two points. Williams continued her strong shooting and hit the final bucket of the quarter giving Team Vallée a 19-15 lead.
The second frame saw veteran Toronto Varsity Blue Jill Stratton take control on the floor for Team Clarke. Stratton was able to find some open space in the lane before dishing to Ryerson Ram Keneca Pingue-Giles who finished in the post mid-way through the second frame putting Team Clarke ahead 24-21. OUA All-Rookie Melissa Tatti representing the Brock Badgers showed that she can play with the All-Stars as she picked up a steal and hit a jumper for Team Vallée to even the game at 24-24. On the next play after Horst grabbed a defensive rebound she hooked up with Tatti on a fast-break and finished the lay-in for four straight points from the rookie.
Williams kept Team Vallée in the game as she had her best quarter of the game with 10 of her 23 points which included eight of the first 10 in the frame for Team Vallée. First year guard representing the Waterloo Warriors Amy Jarvis stepped into the lane for a lay-up and got to the line after a defensive stop securing both shots from the charity stripe for Team Clarke. Another Jarvis two followed by a Boiago three pointer saw Team Clarke push ahead 50-42.
Team Clarke went into the final frame with a comfortable 12 point cushion but the competitive nature of these All-Star athletes took over with Team Vallée making a charge. Ellenor and Williams got back-to-back hoops for Team Vallée and the lead was just four points for Team Clarke with 43 seconds remaining. Stratton showed her composure late in the game and picked up a key steal as the defensive effort from Team Clarke was enough to seal the win 71-69.
“We went to the JUEL of Ontario banquet last night and a few of my teammates spoke to the girls about playing in Canada and the competitive nature we have in the CIS,” continued Williams who spoke to the crowd prior to the game about playing university basketball up north in the CIS. “In Canada, I feel if more players can stay here and compete here keeping the high talent young Canadians in the country the CIS can excel just like the NCAA.”