Falcons and Crusaders capture senior basketball banners

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It was a high-paced basketball game that saw the Ashmont Falcons grab the lead early on, and despite some close calls, the host team held on to the lead throughout all four quarters of play to claim this year’s boys St. Paul Athletic Association championship banner.

The Ashmont Falcons and Mallaig Stingers had met up once earlier in the season, with the Falcons also taking that game, but only by a small margin of six points. Falcons’ coach Felix Weinmeier said heading into the SPAA finals, the boys knew they were in for a tough match.

“We knew it was going to be a close game,” he said.

At the end of the first quarter, the Falcons lead 24-16, and stayed ahead, finishing the second quarter 36-27. Moving on to the second half, the Falcons and Stingers both battled hard, keeping the game close, and moving into the last quarter of play with a score of 53-45.

With less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, Mallaig pushed hard again, netting some impressive three-pointers, but it wouldn’t be enough, and the Falcons would take the game by a final score of 71-66.

The boys battled back and forth, and Weinmeier admitted that at one point, his players got a little lazy, but they caught themselves, and picked up the pace to hold on.

“It was a game, you know. It went by fast. It went like a blur,” said Weinmeier, after the game. “But we played awesome. That was one of the best games we played all year.”

He credited the team’s defensive play on helping solidify the win, but it was clear from the stands that the boys were also strong on the offensive side of things, causing the fans to erupt in cheers a few times with some impressive plays.

Weinmeier said that overall, the Ashmont Falcons’ basketball season was both “awesome” and “frustrating.” But the game on Wednesday night was a bright spot.

“They all pitched in. They all did their part,” said the coach. The Falcons will now prepare to head to zones in about a week’s time.

In a tight, down to the wire afternoon game, Glendon and F.G. Miller tipped off for the senior girls’ SPAA basketball championship game. F.G. Miller pulled ahead early and held on to a slight lead throughout most of the game, winning 37-31.

The firs half of the game was extremely close, with both teams trading baskets back and forth. F.G. Miller’s defensive game proved to be extremely tough, and Glendon’s best offensive efforts seemed to fall short on many drives. Glendon had a lot more possession time but couldn’t capitalize on enough chances to take a serious lead or provide a major offensive threat. By the time the buzzer for the first half sounded, F.G. Miller had a three-point lead as the scoreboard read 13-10.

Glendon’s desperation showed during the second half, and a lot of opportunities were spent, and lost, on long three-point shots and intercepted passes. F.G. Miller took advantage of this and, on more than occasion, stretched their lead to ten or more points.

But Glendon bounced back often, preventing the game from pulling too far ahead. Down by nine points with just two minutes left, Glendon put forward a serious offensive push that saw them draw within two baskets of F.G. Miller, but once again, their offense wasn’t able to penetrate deep enough and F.G. Miller was able to hold on and win with a seven-point lead.

Medals were awarded to both teams after the game, and F.G. Miller team captain Vanessa Ockerman had good things to say about her team.

“A big part of our plan for the game was our defense. We practice that a lot, and I think that all of the girls on our team made a really good team effort today. We didn’t panic when it was close, and when we had the opportunity to get ahead, we did.”

Jon Randall, the athletic director at F.G. Miller and team coach, admitted that though his team played well, the game came down to the wire.

“It was a pretty tough game and there was lots of stuff going both ways,” said Randall. “I think it came down to who wanted to battle harder, and that’s how we came out on top. Learning when to settle back and play strong defensively, and knowing when to attack; those have been our key strengths all season.”

Glendon and F.G. Miller will both be headed to zones.

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