By: Teru Ikeda and Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- A two game road trip over the previous weekend saw the women's team split the back-to-back, winning their first game, 49-40, on Nov. 23 against the St. Lawrence Vikings.
The Colts were looking to get their first home win of the season at the Athletic and Wellness Centre in their second last game of the first semester but they were in tough against an Algonquin Thunder team that was winners of seven straight games.
Algonquin (8-1) brought the thunder and stopped the Colts in their tracks with a wire-to-wire 73-49 win, extending their winning streak to eight games and ensuring that Centennial (1-7) would have to wait another day before getting that elusive first home win of the season.
"We struggled to get into our sets; credit to Algonquin for applying good ball pressure," Justin Bobb, Colts Head Coach said. "The biggest takeaway for us today is that when we get good ball pressure, we still have to find a way to get into our stuff (offensively)."
Hadeza Ismaila led all scorers with a game high 22 points and 12 rebounds as her inside presence on the offensive end gave Centennial fits while Sierra Peck had 11 points, 11 rebounds and a game high four blocks along with three steals. Arianna Gagnon had 11 while Rita Sibo had 10 points and nine boards.
Maryem Serradilla-Sonmez had her best offensive game of the season, leading the way for the Colts with a season high 19 points and six rebounds off of the bench; 13 of those points came in the final frame.
"We know Maryem's a great shooter so it's always important when one of the best shooters in the league gets a chance to get a bit of a rhythm," Bobb said of Serradilla-Sonmez's offensive outburst. "Hopefully she'll carry that rhythm into Tuesday's game (against Georgian)."
Heading into this game, the Thunder averaged 7.8 made threes per game and hit 38.7 per cent from behind the arc, leading the league in that category.
But despite making five of 20 from downtown (25 per cent), Algonquin hit nine more field goals (25-16) and six more free throws (18-12) than Centennial while having a 40-18 edge in points in the paint and scoring 18 points off of 22 Colts turnovers.
Rebounding was 50-43 in favour of the Thunder while Centennial held a 29-19 edge in bench points. The Colts shot 29.1 per cent overall.
After a slow start offensively from both teams, the Thunder eventually closed the first quarter out on a 12-2 run, taking a 20-6 lead at the end of the frame, buoyed by consecutive triples from Sibo. Ismaila had eight first quarter points to lead all scorers.
Centennial went on an 8-2 run after the Thunder opened the second quarter with four points and halved their turnovers to four , after committing eight in the first. But they were unable to cut the deficit to single digits and into the visitors' lead as the Thunder led 30-16, going into the second half.
In the third quarter, Colts guard MaryAnn Blake had to leave the game after her own teammate fell on her knee while playing defense. To the relief of the coaching staff and her teammates, she returned late in the quarter and demonstrated toughness. Her intensity never wavered until the final buzzer sounded.
Meanwhile, to open up the second half, Ismaila's play on the low block was on full display as she took advantage of her size and strength against the smaller Colt guards and muscled her way for eight third quarter points as the Thunder led 49-29, heading into the last quarter.
"Credit to Algonquin for getting into their actions and giving themselves opportunities to score in places that they looked to score," Bobb said. "What we need to do is make it harder for them to get easy passes into the key and stop giving middle drives. That will put us in a better position to make defensive stops."
"I thought the rookies did a good job being aggressive. We went to our spread sets and they did a good job of penetrating to the key, which led to good shots for Maryem at the rim," Bobb said. "I think it's important for us to attack the rim and we were doing that well close to the end of the game."
The Thunder, however, were a tad better on offense in the final frame as Gagnon (six points) and Ismaila (six points) led the visitors to 24 fourth quarter points.
Most impressive of all, Centennial's bench never lost its enthusiasm. Regardless of the numbers on the scoreboard, the Lady Colts cheered after every good play as if it were game-changing and thundered with cheers after every bucket made.
TOP 3 COLTS PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Telia Campbell (3 assists)
Maryem Serradilla-Sonmez (19 points, 6 rebounds; 5/8 FG, 2/4 3FG, 7/10 FT)
CATCH OUR NEXT GAME
The Lady Colts host the Georgian Grizzlies on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00 pm as they look to get revenge after suffering a 66-53 defeat to Georgian on the road on Nov. 8.
"We've got to be firm with our defensive principles and do a better job protecting the middle and the key," Bobb said of the keys to getting a win against the Grizzlies. "We've got to get into some of our stuff and execute a little quicker on the shot clock on offence."
Come cheer the Lady Colts on as they play their final game of 2018!