Displaying an ability to chalk up victories in a variety of manners, the Sudbury Jam U11 Girls closed out their 2018-2019 with a silver medal performance at the 2019 Ontario Cup Championships late last month in Windsor.
The Jam had no trouble getting up for provincials, putting together their most complete outing of the year in game one, more than doubling the YNBA (York North Basketball Association) Avengers 44-20 late Friday afternoon.
While the Sudbury crew were paced by Sophie Miller and Paige Dawson, both with 13 points, the real key was a balanced attack, with the likes of Gretchen Sulatycky, Aurora Circelli, Elsa Blum, Lylah Jebreen, Brooke Waltenbury and Anella Zembrzycki contributing key baskets, all while Sophie Montgomery was making good from the foul line.
A back and forth affair awaited the Jam the next morning, with the lead changing hands constantly before the northern crew secured a 28-27 triumph over the London 86ers. With the Jam up by one heading to the final minute of play, key blocks and rebounds courtesy of Lylah Jebreen and Sophie Montgomery secured the win, improving the team record to 2-0.
That close call only seemed to spur the local girls, who came back with a vengeance, downing the Barrie Royals 36-17 behind the one-two punch of Sophie Miller (13) and Paige Dawson (10). Defensively, Aurora Circelli would lead the Jam in steals, while the rebounding and help-side defense fell into the very capable hands of Kamryn Newell, Brooke Waltenbury and Anella Zembrzycki.
And just as had been the case all tournament long, the shutdown perimeter defense of Vella Miller was on full display, the youngster torching opponents with key cuts to the basket at the other end of the court.
When the dust settled on Sunday afternoon, the Sudbury reps would find themselves opposite the undefeated Orillia Lakers (3-0), with the latter confounding the Jam in the opening half en route to a 17-2 lead at the break.
Down but not out, the Jam rallied, applying a full court press and storming back in cutting the deficit, at one point, to 25-24. That was as close as they would get, as the very sportsmanlike crew dropped a 29-24 decision to the Lakers, settling for second place in a field of eight teams.