Axewomen off to winning start

Jason Simmonds
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Arsenault’s 23-point effort leads Three Oaks to close win in Sweetheart opener

SUMMERSIDE – Nikki Arsenault provided the game-deciding shots for the Three Oaks Axewomen on Thursday evening.

Arsenault’s clutch shooting in the final quarter led the Axewomen to a nail-biting 46-43 decision over the Charlottetown Rural Raiders in the opening game of the 35th annual Three Oaks Senior High School Sweetheart basketball tournament.

“Beating Rural is a big boost to our confidence because they are one of the toughest teams we have played this year,” said Arsenault, who finished with a game-high 23 points.

Click here for game photos:

In another tournament game played in Charlottetown, the Colonel Gray Colonels, led by 23 points from Jada Yeo and Jenna Mae Ellsworth’s 14-point effort, defeated the Bluefield Bobcats 83-8.

Weather permitting, the eight-team tournament, featuring senior AAA girls’ teams from P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, will continue on Friday and conclude with the championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m.


Close finish

The Axewomen were looking to defeat Rural for the first time in four head-to-head meetings this year. This contest was close throughout as Three Oaks led 28-23 at the half, and took a 39-35 advantage into a low-scoring final 10 minutes.

Arsenault drained a three-pointer just over a minute into the fourth quarter to give Three Oaks a 42-35 lead.

“Someone drove in and drew all the defenders, and I just went to the open space and it was a perfect pass,” explained Arsenault, who would sink two foul shots shortly after that to extend the Axewomen’s lead to 44-38.

However, Rural refused to go quietly. Lexi MacInnis answered from downtown, then scored driving to the basket and just like that it was 44-40.

Arsenault answered back as she drove to the basket, and scored off a jump shot for a 46-41 lead.

“This is the first game we played all year where we put a full four quarters together.” Axewomen head coach James Voye

Then the defences took over as both teams battled hard and were diving all over the floor for loose balls. Rural closed to within three with 1:46 to go and inbounded the ball on the Axewomen’s side of centre court three times in the final 18.5 seconds, but could not get the tying basket.

“The girls really blocked out well and made sure they (Raiders) didn’t get to the ball,” said Axewomen head coach James Voye. “We knew we had to play team defence, and getting a lot of those defensive rebounds is what clinched the win for us.”


Team effort

Voye was also pleased that the Axewomen played a complete game.

“This is the first game we played all year where we put a full four quarters together,” said Voye.

Georgia Baker (7) and Tara Campbell (6) were the Axewomen’s other top scorers. Campbell, who had a strong game defensively, was named the Axewomen’s player of the game.

Ashley Plaggenhoef (14), MacInnis (13) and Lauren Reid (8) were Rural’s top scorers. Oryssya Ellis earned Rural’s player-of-the-game award.



When They Play

Friday’s schedule for Sweetheart tournament:

11 a.m. – Amherst vs. Colonel Gray (Three Oaks).

1 p.m. – Three Oaks vs. Avon View (TOSH); Charlottetown Rural vs. James M. Hill (Summerside Intermediate School, SIS).

3 p.m. – Bluefield vs. Miramichi Valley (Three Oaks).

5 p.m. – Three Oaks vs. James M. Hill (Three Oaks); Avon View vs. Charlottetown Rural (SIS).

7 p.m. – Bluefield vs. Amherst (Three Oaks); Colonel Gray vs. Miramichi Valley (SIS).

Organizations: Charlottetown Rural Raiders

Geographic location: Charlottetown, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Miramichi Valley Summerside

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