Cyclones shut down Spirits

Katie Brickman
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A different style of Cyclone basketball is proving to be successful early on.

As Hana Zymberi from Central gets triple-teamed by Vanier defenders, she looks to pass off to an open teammate during senior girls basketball league action on Tuesday evening at Vanier. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Central Cyclones opened up the senior girls basketball season with a 52-23 victory over the Vanier Spirits.

“I thought our defence was what won us the game,” said Jocelyn Wigmore, coach for the Cyclones. “That is awesome to see when the girls are working together like that.”

The guards for the Cyclones are more aggressive this year, making their style a bit different than last year, but it paid off as they held the Spirits to a minimum amount of points each quarter.

“We have some guards that are pushing the ball up more. It is a different style of guard that we have this year,” explained Wigmore. “It is nice to see that they are pushing the ball a lot more and getting the ball up the floor and beating the other team’s defence so they can’t set it. It gives us an opportunity to get some good layups.”

It was a tough start to the season for the Spirits, but coach Bob Gottselig understands it is still early and the team will grow as the year progresses.

“I think we are lacking the fundamentals. I know a lot of our girls on the team finished the season with good skills last year, but most of them didn’t pick up a basketball since last season ended,” Gottselig stated. “We are going to improve. It is a building year. High school basketball is always a building year. We are going to get better.”

The Cyclones were able to press the Spirits and keep them in their own zone for much of the game. The Spirits struggled with their shooting percentage, including layups and at the free throw line.

“We wanted to make sure we were pressuring them and making sure they were taking pressured shots,” said Wigmore. “We had a mismatch with our post. We definitely had some height down low. We wanted to force them to take scrappy shots and get those rebounds. The girls did really well with that. They hit the outlet and pushed the ball up the floor.”

With the Cyclones pressing, the Spirits turned the ball over a lot and couldn’t recover enough to push the ball up the floor on offence.

“Our ball handling skills aren’t where they need to be to play in this league,” said Gottselig. “We are having to dribble the ball with our head down, dribbling it off our foot or knee and that makes it pretty tough when you can’t handle the ball to be successful.”

The game was supposed to be played at Central Collegiate, but their clock wasn’t working, so the game was moved to Vanier Collegiate. The Cyclones didn’t allow that distraction to become an issue.

“It is always nice to start the league games with a win,” said Wigmore. “We will keep pushing forward and keep improving from here.”

In other senior girls basketball action, Caronport defeated Assiniboia 64-41. Caronport’s Leah Hundeby had a game-high 15 points and Kennedy Kuntz had 12. Alexa Wandler had 10 for the Rockets and Bailey Sognesand added nine points in the loss.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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