Over five years and five trips to OFSAA, the O'Gorman High School senior girls basketball team has a complete set of medals.
The team recently won bronze at the OFSAA A Championship.
Since 2016, the girls have won a silver and back-to-back golds at the provincial championships. Prior to that, they had a fifth place finish in 2015.
“We had high expectations for ourselves, and we’re really competitive and we don’t expect anything less than winning OFSAA medals,” said Ally Burke, who's been on the team for the past four years.
Burke and teammate Jenna Katic still have some basketball left to play this year.
The two have been chosen to play in the Canletes high school all-star game Dec. 14 in Toronto. In the past five years, the team has had 11 invitations to the event.
It will be Burke's third trip to the elite game and Katic's first.
“I was not expecting to be chosen, but I’m super excited,” said Katic.
The OFSAA championships were played at the end of November in Welland.
For the O'Gorman team, it was the end of an era.
And the goal was to bring home a medal.
“For me I found I wanted to end my last high school games on a high and I really wanted to give it all we got. I was really hoping that we could win, but unfortunately we had a heartbreaking loss in the semis,” Katic said.
After the semi-final loss, coach Marcy McCarty said the team regrouped phenomenally.
"Sometimes it’s hard to play in a bronze-medal game, but they didn’t show that. They played it like it was a gold and they played it for the legacy and the dynasty that they’re going to leave behind here at O’Gorman,” she said.
Some of the girls on the team, said McCarty, had have been playing together since they were 10.
"It’s a testament not only to the program here at O’Gorman, but at O’Gorman Intermediate and also our Selects basketball program. These girls love the game and they play for that passion and I think that ending four years or five years for some of them this way was something that they’ll remember forever,” she said.
The team has a special connection.
It's something Burke said they'll remember as they move on from O'Gorman.
The highlight on the court for her was winning their first OFSAA gold on home court in 2017.
“Winning in your home gym in front of your parents and everything was special. The gym was packed, that was really fun," she recalled.
The success of the team, said McCarty, is their love for basketball.
"And they’re competitive in nature, they’re true athletes, they’re wonderful young ladies, they’ve been a pleasure to coach for four years. They’ve taught me more than I can ever begin to explain from a coaching point of view,” she said.
“We always use the word family here at O’Gorman, but I think for this group of kids over the last four years, that’s really true. Every time they come to the gym they work hard. They have goals, they want to meet those goals, they push towards those goals. From a coaching point of view, you can’t ask for more than that.”
In the years ahead, she said there is some rebuilding to do.
The legacy this team has created is inspiring a new generation of athletes, though.
“Groups of younger girls coming up through our system see that and want to achieve that, and moving forward I know they will,” said McCarty.