In their final game of the season, the OCAA eastern first place team, the Algonquin Thunder, fell short to the Durham Lords on Sunday Feb. 17 by a final score of 45-67.
Despite the 16-game winning streak the Thunder had all season, the Durham Lords were hungry for redemption. The last win the Lords had over the Thunder was Oct. 21, 2016.
The first two quarters displayed the edge that Algonquin had over all teams they faced so far. The Thunder demonstrated their strengths, tying up the game three times.
With 1:31 left in the second quarter, an altercation between a Thunder player and a Lords player stopped the clock. A technical foul was called on Algonquin, but not on Durham.
The Lords player would have been removed from the game with that call; however, Algonquin was granted two extra free throws.
After Rita Sibo was told to take the initial shots, the refs huddled up realizing they had made an error. Sierra Peck, who should have taken the shots, was then asked by the refs to take two more.
It was a decision that had the entire gymnasium hollering and questioning the motives behind the ref’s call.
All four baskets counted and the Lords player had no calls against her.
The Thunder were able to hold it together until the end of the second quarter, with the score knotted at 18-18.
Despite their efforts, the team’s spirit was deflated going into the second half. The Thunder tried but couldn’t keep up with the force of the Lords.
“They got under our skin, we needed to get under theirs. It’s unfortunate that that’s what the game comes down to a bit,” said Coach Jaime McLean.
“It came down to being the better team and we got out-battled and lost a lot of the small things.”
The Thunder’s Rita Sibo took home the most points from the game with 13 overall. Arianna Gagnon followed just behind with 11.
“This game really wasn’t something we needed to win. It was more of a pride thing. They just wanted it more than we did,” said Thunder forward Hadeza Ismaila.
“We walked in expecting that we were just going to take the win.”
While the Thunder hadn’t planned on going home without the win Sunday, they will go on to the playoffs.
Coach McLean is proud of what his team accomplished this season and hopes they bring the fire and competitive spirit into the playoffs.
“Really happy with the turnaround from last year. These girls have come a long way together. An unfortunate end to the season with a loss like this hopefully that’s the wake up call we need going into playoffs. We need to compete every single game.”