Sports High School Sports

Barrie North rebounds with win a day after losing to Twin Lakes

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

Victoria Pignatelli of the Barrie North Vikings fends off the Roméo-Dallaire Vipères defence during senior girls basketball action on Tuesday at École Secondaire Roméo-Dallaire in Barrie. The Vikings would take the win, 42-18. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Victoria Pignatelli of the Barrie North Vikings fends off the Roméo-Dallaire Vipères defence during senior girls basketball action on Tuesday at École Secondaire Roméo-Dallaire in Barrie. The Vikings would take the win, 42-18. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

It's been a season of growth for the Barrie North Vikings.

The team has seen a fresh set of players, a new coach, and with him, a different style of play.

As the senior girls basketball team has made the adjustment, it's led to more wins in the 'AA' loop.

"We're pretty good and a lot better than (we were) in the past," said Vikings co-captain Brooklyn Morton. "We're in the middle right now."

A day after losing to Twin Lakes, Barrie North put together a strong performance in a 42-18 victory over the Romeo Dallaire Viperes on Tuesday.

"Our offence rotated well, and we had a lot better 'help D' than we've had in the past," Morton said. "I think it's just that recently, we haven't had our head in the game, but this game, we really tried to get it in there early."

Victoria Pignatelli was the top point-getter for Barrie North, scoring 12, while Jamie Walker added 10.

Vanessa Martino responded with eight for Romeo Dallaire, which did not score a point until over 11 minutes into the game.

By that point, Barrie North had a 21-0 lead.

"It definitely takes the pressure off of us (trying to) score," said Vikings co-captain Drew Copping. "At the end of the game, we can just focus on our play and patterns."

That's been a big objective for the Vikings, who are now being run by long-time Barrie Central coach Steve Porter.

"We've been taught a different way to play," Morton said. "It's been completely new for a lot of these girls, who have been playing since elementary school.

"So just learning the new way to play has probably been the hardest thing."

One of the big keys for this group is the ability to rotate and fill in for each other, with ball movement between the ever-blurring positions becoming that much more critical.

"It's a lot more movement," Morton said. "It's a lot less remembering a play and now, we just kind of go with it instead of just doing a set play."

There has been an adjustment needed, but it's coming along, as was evident by some complete offensive sequences in the second quarter for Barrie North.

"We've gotten a lot stronger at just filling in space and making sure you're not leaving any space open or crowding on one side of the court," Morton said.

And the more often they do it, the less they need to stop in the middle to go for a refresher.

"We're always looking to improve on rotation and just mentally know it, instead of having to call timeouts and re-do our plays," Copping said.

She has felt that these changes have forced her to become a more versatile basketball player.

"All of the time last year, we only played one certain position, like point guard, post or wing," Copping said. "This year, we have to learn how to play every aspect of the court, and knowing every aspect of the court just helps us all improve as a team.

"I know how to dribble with both hands now, I know how to shoot from every aspect of the court, so I really like Coach Porter's style and teaching and I feel that it is very beneficial to our team."

It's been tough at times, but whenever the Vikings buy in, the success is found, as is evidenced by their 4-2 record.

"We all work together and at the end of the day, we all love the sport," Copping said. "Some days are more frustrating than others, but we love to come out and play and focus on what can make us better."

With a clearer understanding of what they're now doing on the court, the Vikings feel that they may be able to surprise some teams come playoff time.

"Oh yeah, it'll be a tight game, but we'll be ready," Copping said. "As soon as we get a little more practice time, we're going to smoke them.

"Well, hopefully we're going to smoke them," added Copping with a laugh.

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