MWBA - Maritime Womens Basketball Association

Big MWBA Storylines Unfolding

Well, there’s a few things clear in the Maritime Women’s Basketball League after a wildly successful weekend tournament session in Halifax.

Outside of the continuing dominance of the Halifax Thunder, the rest of the story is clear.

Clear as mud.

Muddled standings, a huge game set for Thursday in New Brunswick, some spark showed by the defending champions and more as the MWBA rolled through Week IV at Saint Mary’s University.

First things first.

Can anyone deny the Thunder.

Halifax ripped through the regular season at 10-0 a year ago and appeared poised to do it again with one game remaining. Yes, the Thunder lost in last year’s final to city rival Halifax Hornets, but the 2023 version is scoring at will. Even when the Thunder trails, opposition know the train is coming, the only question was when does it leave the station.

Thunder toppled Port City Fog of Saint John on Sunday in a highly anticipated outing.

Halifax was 8-0 entering and Fog could have grabbed the top New Brunswick seed lead with a win after watching the Fredericton Freeze fall earlier in the day.

Instead it was Thunder who came out firing, building a 29-16 lead after 10 minutes.

Fog emerged in the second quarter and closed the gap to a 39-34 first half deficit, but Halifax proved too tough in the second half, ripping out of the break with a 33-point outburst, rolling to an eventual 86-64 triumph.

The Thunder can finish undefeated when it hosts winless (0-8) Windsor Edge on Thursday.

Karissa Kajorinne powered a solid Thunder offence with 18 points. Keira Duffie had 15, Sandy Saunders a dozen and Karla Yepez scored eight.

Kaylee Kilpatrick continued her stellar play with 21 points for Port City. Reese Baxendale scored 11, Grace Tilley popped nine and Courtney Thompson meshed eight.

The Fog had hoped to pull ahead of Fredericton which came out flat and watched Sophia Widmeyer scored 17 first half points, sparking Halifax Hornets to a 29-point first quarter, dominating the Freeze.

Fredericton showed some spark and actually clawed back after being down 13 points at one point, taking its first lead of the game with 61 seconds left in the third. The Freeze would lead by five late in the contest, but plenty of Hannah Brown and some key buckets late pushed the Hornets to an 84-79 win.

Hornets moved to 3-6 and the Freeze remains tied with Port City with 5-3 records.

Widmeyer finished with 26 points to lead Halifax. Brown and Courtney Donaldson struck for 15 each, Alisha McNeil had four triples and scored 15 and Toni Bianchini was outstanding, scoring 11 and creating offence for the Hornets.

Kylee Speedy had 22 for Fredericton. Allie McCarthy knocked down 17, Robbi Daley had 12 and Eva Tumwine 11, before leaving the game in the critical fourth with an injury.

Meanwhile, the Moncton Mystics showed they can light up the scoreboard once again.

Moncton dropped the Edge, 98-50 to move to 3-6.

The Mystics average just under 83 points an outing.

Emily Briggs canned 22 points to spark Moncton’s attack. Abby Miller and Kylee Balser both had 15 and Jenna Jones scored 12.

Emily McNeil had 16 for Windsor and Taylor Malloy scored eight.

With Thunder chasing an undefeated season Thursday, the league’s Medavie Game of the Week will unfold in neutral territory Thursday.

For the first time ever, the Town of Sussex and its basketball-mad fans will host an MWBA game.

Fog will be the home team, facing the Freeze at 7 p.m. at Sussex Regional High School.

Thunder has secured its first round bye as top Nova Scotia team, but the winner of Thursday’s game in Sussex will go a long way to determining who is first in New Brunswick for a potential first round bye.

The playoff system in the MWBA has top provincial teams skipping to the semifinals. Nova Scotia second seed plays New Brunswick third seed and Nova Scotia third seed meets New Brunswick No. 2.

Thunder would draw the lowest remaining seed in the semifinals.

All Final 6 action unfolds at Saint John’s TD Station June 16 to 18, but the script of who plays whom remains to be written.

– Halifax was treated to outstanding MWBA tilts on the weekend. (DWinston Photo)