© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
North Nova’s Neil Green and Zach Saunders double team a SAERC player during the junior varsity basketball invitational final on Saturday night. The Gryphons won 80-57.
NEW GLASGOW – Up against a team they had yet to face this season, the North Nova Gryphons junior varsity basketball team didn’t want to underestimate their SAERC opponents in their invitational final on Saturday night.
Down by three at halftime, 29-26 to SAERC, Mitchell MacDonald said the team started weakly, but played better as the game went on.
“We didn’t have the best start, but our coach just kept telling us to work hard and by the end of the second quarter we were starting to gain some momentum,” he said. “At halftime he just told us to keep working hard and that if we finished strong we could win the game.”
In the third quarter the Gryphons out-scored the Saints 29-12 to take a 14-point lead into the final ten minutes of play. The Saints closed the gap slightly to start the fourth quarter, but the Gryphons pushed back taking a larger lead en route to an 80-57 win.
Nelson Williams led the team in scoring in the final with 25 points, followed closely by Anfernee Miller with 23 points. Williams said after the game that this tournament showed how the team is coming together at this point in the season.
“We’re starting to show our chemistry as a team now,” he said. “The team has been working hard in practice and it’s starting to show now. We were moving the ball good this weekend and our shooting has improved too.”
The team will now set their sights on regionals, which they hope to win. MacDonald said in order for the team to continue their success from the weekend they need to keep working hard.
“This weekend we showed ourselves what we can do against teams we haven’t played before,” said MacDonald. “We’ve been working hard in practice and will need to keep working hard for the next few weeks. Like Nelson said we’re coming together now and feel like we have a strong team going into provincials.”
In the fifth place game North Colchester defeated Pictou Academy 51-16, while the third place game was won by Guysborough 52-48 over Amherst.