With the season coming to a close, no one has to remind the players that every game counts. Durham Elite recently came off a close loss to King’s Christian Collegiate and were ready to bounce back, although it would have to come on the road at Bill Crothers. Despite being ranked 5th going into the game, Bill Crothers has played well as of late and this contest against Durham could have serious playoff implications depending on the outcome.
Durham and Bill Crothers both played well in the opening minutes of the game. They exchanged possession and the lead a few times albeit with contrasting styles of play. Bill Crothers’s success mostly came from outside scoring lead by Tiya Misir (12 points) while Durham’s scoring was largely a result of second chance shots or drives to the lane by Shaina Pellington (24 points). Bill Crothers did tend to shift their scoring towards the inside by drawing fouls but with Durham finding their range later in the first, they found themselves down 11-14 after 1.
The 2nd quarter was more of a struggle to get the ball in the basket. Defensively Bill Crothers caused a lot of turnovers to create transition opportunities but they were unable to finish despite often getting good position under the basket. Their missed scoring opportunities were costly as they trailed by as much as 7 midway through the quarter. Pellington was a huge factor in the Durham offense with her ability to navigate her way towards the rim and finish over any defender. Her foul trouble forced her off the floor earlier than Durham would have preferred but a clutch basket by Sabree Thomas (9 points) and a buzzer beater by Kylee O’Hara (11 points) held off the late run by Bill Crothers.
Bill Crothers began the 2nd half trailing by 30-37 but the score didn’t accurately reflect their strong play until that point. Their offense was in a rhythm early and they cut the deficit down to only 3 points within the first few minutes with some good ball movement and long distance shots. Durham definitely felt the pressure creeping up and Shaina Pellington once again took over the game and Bill Crothers lacked a defensive answer for her scoring ability. What was close to being a tie game, quickly reverted to a 16-point lead for Durham in the blink of an eye. Emma McCamus’s defense was great for Bill Crothers, especially with Pellington on the bench, but the lack of offensive consistency saw them trailing 44-59 to end the 3rd.
Durham’s 15-point lead was the biggest to start a quarter and they looked to see out that advantage until the end. They were well on their way but Bill Crothers didn’t make it easy. Samantha Gucciardi began to find some success under the rim in consecutive possessions and the team’s offense seemed to turn the corner. Unfortunately for them however, they struggled to secure a large portion of rebounds for a majority of the game and the final quarter was no different. Julia Chadwick and Durham’s ability to be the first to the ball off the glass amounted to many 2nd chances or a quick break up the court. In the end, Durham withstood any attempt by Bill Crothers to close the gap and they finished with a score of 76-63 at the final buzzer.
Durham Elite’s win keeps the pressure on King’s Christian Collegiate for the top spot and their last game of the season is practically a must-win for them. Their final regular season game will be at home as they host Guelph Prep on March 7th, tip-off at 5pm. Bill Crothers were unable to nab a win in the rematch but have to look towards their next game if they want to make a late push in the standings. They host King’s Christian Collegiate on March 7th, tip-off at 5pm.