By Martin Cleary
École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges is celebrating its 25th anniversary this school year and the athletics department is making a major contribution this fall to the party.
The French-language high school in Orleans is enjoying a pair of milestone moments this week as its boys’ volleyball and girls’ varsity basketball teams are competing at their respective OFSAA provincial AA championships in Huntsville and Stratford.
The B-D Bulldogs executed well in the preliminary games Friday, made the playoffs, but had mixed results striving for a medal.
The undefeated boys’ volleyball team is guaranteed a medal (gold, silver, bronze or antique bronze), while the girls’ basketball team finished a few baskets shy of playing in the medal rounds.
On the volleyball court, the Bulldogs survived an intense quarter-final match against Kingsville District, posting a 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-10 decision to reach Saturday’s semifinal against Sacred Heart.
The Bulldogs completed their round-robin Friday with a 4-0 record to finish first in their pool. They defeated Henry Street of Whitby in their last preliminary match 25-12, 25-14.
“The guys played a very controlled and calm game,” Bulldogs boys’ volleyball head coach Joel Lavoie said in an email interview about their three Thursday wins.
“We put a lot of pressure on teams with our serving and we were able to run our option on offence because of their great passing. We (also) took a few teams by surprise.”
The Bulldogs, who finished third in the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association Diamond Division playoffs, are quick and mobile on the court and noted for their serving and passing. The Bulldogs use their ball control to dictate the pace of the game.
Despite winning its final round-round game 25-16, 25-17 over Thomas A. Stewart of Peterborough at the OFSAA boys’ AAA volleyball championship in Kingston, Franco-Cité Faucons finished third in their pool at 2-2 and dropped to the consolation round.
In its quarterfinal, Franco-Cité defeated St. Joseph-Scollard of North Bay 25-12, 25-12, 25-17.
After winning its first two games in OFSAA girls’ AA basketball championship history, Béatrice-Desloges qualified for the quarterfinals, but lost 55-47 to Arnprior District. The Bulldogs led by one point after the first quarter, 16-15. But Arnprior took control for the rest of the game with respective quarter leads of four, seven and eight points.
The 15th-seeded Bulldogs made school history in their second OFSAA girls’ AA basketball championship on Thursday by winning their first-ever OFSAA game. In its previous OFSAA visit, they lost all three games.
The Bulldogs upset No. 4 Lo-Ellen Park of Sudbury 47-40 in a tense opening game that was decided in the final two minutes. Lo-Ellen led by one point with two minutes remaining in regulation time.
“It was a hard game,” Béatrice-Desloges’ head coach Julien Cazabon said in a phone interview. “We’re ranked No. 15 and played No. 4. They were well coached and their defensive pressure was impressive.
“But we found a way to win. I’m not sure how. We kept driving and trusted our game plan. In the end, it was execution, rebounds and a free throw.”
Alexia Schryburt solidified the win with her heads-up play in the paint. After making her first of two free throws, she missed the second, but followed her shot, grabbed the rebound and added a two-point field goal. Schryburt scored more than half of her team’s points with 24.
There was no such pressure for Béatrice-Desloges in its second game as it was in full control for the entire game and defeated No. 13 Monsignor Paul Dwyer of Oshawa 72-20. The Bulldogs led 33-13 at halftime.
Schryburt, a Grade 10 student-athlete, again was the Bulldogs’ top scorer with 26 points.
“We came out with our full-court press and I think it surprised them,” Cazabon wrote in an email about Friday’s second-round win. “We took an early lead and never looked back.
“We really focused on their top players and did a pretty good job limiting them. It gave us the chance to rest some players for (Friday night’s) quarter-final game.”
Arnprior qualified for the quarterfinals with a 59-37 second-round decision over T.A. Blakelock of Oakville. No. 3 Perth and District also moved into the quarterfinals, after a 55-37 win over No. 8 James Cardinal McGuigan of Toronto. But Perth was eliminated in the quarterfinals, losing 44-22 to Hammarskjold of Thunder Bay.
The Bulldogs girls’ basketball team is a varsity squad with six Grade 9 and 10 students and six Grade 11-12 students. The lineup has eight guards and four centres, which includes sisters Alexia and Marika Schryburt and a set of Grade 9 identical twins, Elodie and Lorelie Bard, who are part of a three-sister package along with Ameliane Bard.
“We believe in ourselves,” said Béatrice-Desloges’ head coach Julien Cazabon, who is in his 20th year of coaching. “We’ve lost in double overtime and by two and three points (in NCSSAA league play), but then we started to win by two and three points. We started to believe that we can do it.”
Béatrice-Desloges won the opening game of its six-game, NCSSAA regular season, but lost its next three before finishing in fourth place in the East 1 Division at 3-3. Its final two wins were the start of something promising for the developing team.
The Bulldogs won seven of their final eight games – a win and a loss in the overlap round, three playoff victories to capture the Platinum Division championship and a one-sided win over Immaculata in the AA play-in game to qualify for their OFSAA championship.
“We have a good mix of personnel … and guards,” Cazabon added. “The girls know their roles and they are peaking well. The goal is to play Saturday (semifinals and medal games).”
Meanwhile at the OFSAA girls’ A basketball championship in Walkerton, Osgoode Township ran past Walkerton 58-25 to advance to the quarterfinals, but lost their first and only playoff game 38-36 to second-seeded Nicholson of Belleville.
Earl of March defeated John Henry Newman of Hamilton 35-34 to win its consolation-round quarterfinal during the OFSAA girls’ AAA basketball championship in Belle River. But the Lions were eliminated in the semifinals with a 59-53 loss to St. Roch of Brampton.
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Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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