Jaguar Holiday Tournament Recap

Every year during winter break the basketball team hosts a holiday tournament where some of the area’s top teams compete against one another. This year’s Jaguar tournament, which took place December 28-30, included Wharton, Academy at the Lakes, Sickles, Land O’Lakes, Plant, Mckeel Academy, and Hillsborough. 

Last year's team won the whole tournament, setting the goal high for this year.
Credit: Jackie Muir (with permission)
Last year’s team won the whole tournament, setting the goal high for this year.

On the first day of action, Academy at the Lakes defeated Wharton, Sickles beat Land O’Lakes in overtime, and Mckeel Academy lost a close, hard-fought battle to Plant. Host Academy of the Holy Names crushed Hillsborough 51-10. Ten different Jaguars scored and sophomore center Mickey Carney led the way with eight points. This set up a rivalry game between Plant and Academy with a berth in the championship at stake.

Wharton beat Land O’Lakes in the first game of the following day. Then, Mckeel Academy defeated Hillsborough and Academy at the Lakes beat Sickles.

The highly anticipated matchup between Plant and Academy was full of lots of excitement and energy. The Jaguars started the game by scoring the first few baskets but Plant battled back. At halftime the score was 37-29 in favor of Plant. Academy had a rough third quarter filled with lots of fouls and were down by sixteen points at the end of it. However the Jaguars played a tough fourth quarter and fought hard to make it a close game again. Unfortunately, in the end, it was not quite enough as Academy lost the game by a score of 74-63. Senior guard Megan Bajo led the Jaguars in scoring with sixteen points.

“The atmosphere was very tense but very excited, there was a lot of energy during the entire game. Everyone was on the edge of their seat,” reports Gabbie Ragano, a junior who came out to support the Jaguars during the game.

The final day of the tournament started when Mckeel Academy defeated Wharton in the fifth-place game. In a close game for third-place, Academy beat Sickles 40-32. Lindsey Perez, a sophomore guard, led the way with seventeen points.

Greta Dieck, a Freshmen guard and first-time participant in the tournament says, “I was very intimidated at first because we were playing against some really good teams. However, I got good experience in competitive games so it was a useful learning experience for me.”

In the championship game, Plant and Academy at the Lakes challenged each other for four full quarters. With about two seconds left in the game, it was tied at sixty points and it looked like the game was certainty heading for overtime. However, the referees called a very questionable foul against the Panthers and Academy at the Lakes guard Audra Leipold sank two free throws with 0.3 seconds remaining for the win.

Leipold was named tournament MVP, and Bajo was named to the all-tournament team.

Sophomore forward Katherine Hahn said she really enjoyed “sitting with my team and watching all the other competitive games in the tournament.”