Updated: Mar 8, 2018
Picture this: an endless amount of Gators all riled up and ready to chomp. That’s what the arena felt like with hundreds of Walnut Grove fans chanting, “Gator Nation!” in hopes of messing with the St. George’s Saints.
St. George’s put up the first points on the scoreboard, with Louis Sujir sinking an easy layup. Grove snapped back, scoring their own two, proving early on that this was going to be a tight game.
The Saints rallied hard to keep the lead at the end of the first quarter 22-17.
Much of the second quarter kept the same pace with St. George’s slightly leading, and the Walnut Grove never trailing too far behind.
With just under a minute, the Gators took the lead for the first time in the game. At the end of the half, they were up 40-39.
The third quarter showcased a stronger St. George’s team. The boys found the basket on multiple possessions, creating a 6-point deficit for Grove. With only one quarter remaining, the Saints held the lead 65-57.
As the Gator Nation screamed a little louder in the crowds, the Grove boys gained some much-needed momentum. They put up 10 unanswered points in just over two minutes of play to tie it up at 67.
St. George’s Louis Sujir nailed a crucial 3 to put his team back into the game yet again. However, Grove’s James Woods hit right back with his own 3 to keep the scoreboard even.
This nail-biter of a game highlighted the offensive and defensive moves from both teams, but it was the Walnut Grove Gators who fought their way to a victory over the St. George’s Saints. The final score: 89-76.
James Woods had 13 rebounds and a monstrous 44 points. Of course, he was crowned player of the game.
“It was a true team effort,” Woods said of his accomplishment. “In the fourth quarter, we all just put in work, played defence, and rebounded. I have a ton of trust in my teammates, I know they can do the same thing too.”
Head coach Reid Taylor said this win was huge for their team.
“We’ve got a close-knit group that a good chunk of them won the Provincials last year. We aren’t taking anything lightly. St. George’s is a very good team; they took us to overtime early on in the season. We knew it was going to be a tough game—it wasn’t a surprise,” he said.
“It’s a big game, but we really haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Written by: Crystal Scuor