ANTIGONISH, N.S. — The Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional Royals Division 1 girls’ basketball team will host the annual Mabel Arsenault Memorial, Nov. 29 and 30, at the Regional gym in Antigonish.
Arsenault, who died in 2005 after a lengthy battle with cancer, was one of the pioneers with the Antigonish Minor Basketball Association. She also served as an assistant coach with the Royals during her tireless commitment to the sport.
The Halifax Grammar Gryphons, Sir John A. Macdonald Flames and Avonview Avalanche will round out the field for the four-team round robin tournament.
The Royals tipped off the season with several new faces — both on the court and the bench.
Alana Lawn, an assistant for two seasons, takes over as head coach for the retired Gail MacDougall.
Brendan Hines and Patty MacKinnon are also new to the staff.
“It has been going well, considering we have gone through a lot of change,” Lawn, a former guard with the St. F.X. X-Women varsity team, said.
Despite the change, she added, the early season “cohesiveness” of the players has impressed the first-year Regional bench boss.
“Everyone has been going through it together, which is huge for us,” Lawn said.
On the court, she explained, the Royals have been “so lucky,” when it comes to having a balanced scoring attack in the first few games of the season.
“We want to continue that, for sure,” Lawn said.
She added it will be beneficial having “multiple threats,” as opposed to relying on one or two “big time scorers.”
“It makes us hard to defend,” Lawn said.
With each game, she noted, the Royals are improving — both offensively and defensively — when it comes to “reading and reacting.”
When it comes to the regular season in the Northumberland region, Lawn said “we are in tough.”
“They have so much chemistry,” she added of the North Nova Gryphons, the New Glasgow-based rival that returns the bulk of its roster from last season under veteran head coach Andy MacKay.
She added the perennial rival CEC Cougars of Truro will be “much improved.”
The Royals competed in the Sir John A. Macdonald tournament over the weekend in Upper Tantallon.
Results were unavailable at press time.
Friday, Nov. 29
2 p.m. Royals vs. Avalanche
4 p.m. Gryphons vs. Flames
7 p.m. Royals vs. Gryphons
Saturday, Nov. 30
9 a.m. Avalanche vs. Flames
12 p.m. Avalanche vs. Gryphons
2 p.m. Royals vs. Flames
4 Katie Macneil (Grade 10)
5 Emily MacDonald (10)
6 Madison Gorman (12)
7 Taylor Gorman (12)
8 Cailunn Bance (12)
9 Charleigh Clarke (12)
10 Alex MacDonald (9)
11 Sophie Delorey (11)
12 Iris Leuschner (9)
13 Maura Flynn (12)
14 Shay Berkvens (9)
15 Brooke MacDonald (10)
23 Sydney Anthony (12)
24 Bree MacPherson (9)
Coach: Alana Lawn
Coach: Brendan Hines
Coach: Patty MacKinnon