A championship game to remember
With four seconds left in the ACAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game, the top-seeded Mount Saint Vincent Mystics held a 2-point lead over the second-ranked Mounties, 63-61. The Mystics quickly inbounded the ball and were forced out of bounds by the Mounties defence.
“That was a make or break moment,” says fourth-year student Lauren MacEachern. “We were all just trying to get the ball back and were focused on making it really hard for them to get the ball in.”
With two seconds left in the game, senior Sarah McGeachy found rookie Emma Hachey open under the net, where she took a hard foul going to the basket.
“Sarah made a great pass to me,” says Hachey. “It was the first time that play worked all game and I was open.”
Hachey stepped to the free throw line with seconds remaining on the clock, needing to make both shots to tie the game and force overtime.
“It was really loud,” says Hachey. “I had never been in a situation like that before and I just tried to drown out the sound and focus on myself.”
She recalls calling over MacEachern and telling her if she missed the first shot, she would miss the second on purpose to her side. MacEachern told her, “just make both shots.”
“She looked really confident on the line,” says MacEachern. “I was super proud of her the whole time, as a rookie thinking that far ahead into the play. I was just blown away how she stepped up and made those shots.”
Hachey says she felt calm in the moment and tried not to think about the magnitude of the situation.
“I jumped and did a little happy dance when I made that second shot,” she says.
Overcoming a third-quarter 16-point deficit, the Mounties forced the game into overtime, where they would pull away to a six-point victory, 77-71. MacEachern finished with a season high 24 points and was awarded Player of the Game for the Mounties. Watch the championship game highlights.
The Mounties will now host the CCAA Women’s Basketball Nationals as ACAA Champions, March 14-17.
MacEachern says the team can walk into the national championship with their heads held high.
“I am really excited because there will be so many people and so much attention for women’s basketball on campus,” she says.
MacEachern has been on the national stage before. Three years ago, in her rookie season, the team shocked the conference by beating high-ranking STU to reach the ACAA finals and earn the right to go to Nationals at Vancouver Island University.
“The environment is pretty overwhelming and loud, so it is nice to have had the experience before to know what to expect,” says MacEachern. “This will be a whole different kind of emotion and feeling as hosts.”
A starter in her rookie season, MacEachern chose to take time away from the game she had been playing since elementary school in nearby Amherst, NS. Excelling early on, she played on her school teams, Cumberland County club teams, Basketball Nova Scotia provincial programs, and represented her province at the Canada Games.
“Basketball was something I had always been good at,” she says. “It was what I loved to do and it became my whole identity over the years. I just needed to take some time away to find out who I will be and what I will be without the game someday. Taking that time off helped me find my love for it again.”
A sociology student, MacEachern will return to Mount Allison next year to complete her degree and finish her final season of basketball eligibility. She then plans to pursue an education degree.
Hachey picked up the game early on as well. A multi-sport athlete in Kentville, NS, she says her dad wanted her to play hockey, but she chose basketball and began playing at age five. She also played soccer, rugby, volleyball, and track and field and was always on more than one basketball team. The busy schedule, she says, helped prepare her for being a chemistry student-athlete at Mount Allison.
“Instead of being at another sport, I’m in the library now,” she says.
Hachey scored a double-double in the ACAA Championship Game with an impressive 17 points and 12 rebounds. She admits she didn’t even know the score most of the game.
“I was more worried about playing defence and getting my teammates the ball,” she says. “Winning was a surreal feeling and the fan support was great.”
Starting more than half of the season’s games, Hachey is happy her coaches and teammates trusted she could make an impact in her first year. She is looking forward to playing on her first national stage.
“It is nice to host nationals with a banner on our back,” she says.
Catch the Mounties in first-round action vs. the Medicine Hat Rattlers on Thursday, March 15 at 6 p.m. AST. Tournament passes are available online and daily passes can be purchased at the door.