The basketball action was fast and furious over the weekend, with the Glendon Marquise and Mallaig Stingers both repeating as zone champs to head to provincials this week.
Glendon played host to boys’ zones this past weekend, with neighbouring schools Glendon and Mallaig heading to the finals on Saturday night to make for a close and exciting match-up, with the Nobles and Stingers’ fan base loudly cheering their teams on.
“It was very back and forth for three quarters of the game; it was only late in the third and fourth quarter did we start pulling away,” said Stingers coach Steven Jeffery. “We kept grinding, we kept digging.”
The Stingers also kept themselves out of foul trouble so that the starters were able to stay on court, he said, gaining on their Glendon rivals to end with a final and decisive win at 73 – 48 to claim their second consecutive zones banner.
This year’s crop of basketball players feature strong all-around athletes who had their eyes set on winning at zones from the beginning of the season, said Jeffery.
“I think they expected it – it was a realistic goal, they knew they had to get there,” he said, adding, “Anything but provincials would have been hurtful to them.”
Last year, the team went into provincials ranked 12th and finished 11th, but he noted they only lost to the fifth ranked team by four or five points.
“This year, we’re going in 11th and hoping to finish much better,” he said, adding the aim is to end up in the A side and push the envelope as far as the boys can. The boys head to Calgary’s Rundle Academy this week, with provincials running from March 16 to 18.
Northeast 1A girls teams headed to Paradise Valley for zones this past weekend, to qualify for a position in the Provincial ASAA competition to be held in Bawlf, from March 16 to 18.
For the fourth consecutive year under the coaching of Sandra Lysy and Britney Webber, Glendon Marquise will proudly represent Zone 7 at provincials.
After earning a bye for being the first place team in the Zone, Glendon competed against Mallaig, winning with a score of 63-40. The Marquise then progressed to the zone final against Vermilion’s St. Jerome’s Catholic School.
St. Jerome’s came out confident and strong with leads of 14-8 at the end of the first and 21-16 at the end of the second quarter.
At half time, Lysy and Webber rallied their team, with Lysy explaining that every player has strong and weak points but reminding the team to focus on their own players’ strong points.
The team came through for their coaches and fans by sinking four three-point baskets and several layups in the third quarter, taking the lead and not looking back to win, 42-34.
In a post-game debrief, the team noted it was a disappointment to lose the SPAA banner in the district playoff but the girls agreed the zones and the progression to the provincial competition was a greater accomplishment.
To close the postgame debriefing, one girl commented (as they were celebrating with a birthday cake for a teammate) – “We brought our cake to this tournament and we got to eat it too!”
Ashmont and Mallaig girls also traveled to their respective 2A and 1A zones, with both teams finishing fourth after the weekend of play. FG Miller girls, who had won in SPAA, went to the 2A finals, but were edged out by a strong Assumption team, with a squeaker score of 51 – 49.
The Ashmont boys also took on Assumption in the 2A finals, but also lost to the highly-ranked provincial-bound team.
St. Paul Regional High School sent both a boys and girls team to 3A zones in Lloydminster over the weekend, after both teams competed in the Lakeland Basektball League throughout the season. The boys played hard, and made a strong showing, but in the end would finish in sixth place.
“We played really well,” said coach Jorge Silva, adding, each game was a close one in Lloydminster. The team experienced some injuries and was missing some key players over the weekend at zones.
Silva said that overall, the boys had a strong season, and came together at the right time. “We had our ups and down. But, the kids played hard all year.”
The Regional girls’ team also went to zones in Lloydminster. The girls won their first game Friday night, but couldn’t pull out a win on Saturday morning, which bumped them to playing for third place against Westwood.
“It was a good game. The girls played hard and never gave up,” said coach Tamie Gratton. The girls would lose the game and finish in fourth place overall.
Throughout the season, the girls’ team also had a strong showing, winning their home tournament, and also the Vegreville Classic. Gratton said the Grade 12s on the team have put in a lot of time and effort over the years, and there are some great athletes coming up from the lower grades too.
See next week’s Journal for results from the Glendon Marquise and Mallaig Stingers’ trips to provincials.