In fact, a few more rounds of the classic ‘21’ leading up and the girls likely come home champions.
As it ended, St. Albert Catholic beat Raymond by one point in the final. Had the Comets shot even an average percentage from the free-throw line however, Raymond wins by at least a few.
“We were 11-for-24 from the foul line and (St. Albert was) 18-for-21,” said Comets head coach Jentry Salmon. “We could have won that game, we played good basketball … we were up, they were up; it was back and forth. But in a tight ball game, you’ve got to make your shots.”
Salmon said the game ended in fairly dramatic fashion as well, with the Comets down by just that one decisive point with about 30 ticks left on the clock. Needing a stop on defence, Raymond tightened up and didn’t allow St. Albert to get off a shot, forcing a turnover with eight seconds to go.
“Sunder West took the ball up the court, 100 miles an hour like she does, and tries to split two girls,” Salmon recalled. “There was a big collision, the ball went flying, and there was no whistle.
“I felt there should have been a call made, whether it was on Sunder or whether it was on them … but that’s a tough call to make, it would have been a big foul to call.”
The Comets played a few big schools at the tourney, and showed those teams just how ready they are to be back with the provincial elite.
Raymond took on Edmonton’s St. Francis Xavier in the opening game of the event, putting up 87 points en route to a 53-point win. In the semi-final the Comets tipped off against Spruce Grove, a school Salmon expects to be ranked fairly high in the province early on. In a game that featured some of the craziest runs, from both sides, you’ll ever see on a basketball court, Raymond jumped out to a 25-2 lead.
Then the Comets put themselves into foul trouble in the second quarter and watched idle while Spruce Grove hit 17 free throws to close the gap to 10 at half. Fast-forward to five minutes left in the game and Raymond succumbs the lead by one, 52-51.
The final score? 71-54 Comets.
Raymond opened with one run of 25-2 and closed with another of 20-2. In between those runs it lost 50-26. Quite a game, no doubt.
The championship game was next and narrowly missed being just as spectacular for the Comets, should those last eight seconds have gone another way. Regardless of taking the second-place trophy, Salmon is happy with where his team is at.
“We were right there with them, so we definitely have some positive things to take away from it. It was only our fourth game, which we have to keep reminding ourselves.”
Raymond will take on the Cougars in Cardston Friday night in its last action before winter break. The girls will also be in Cardston Jan. 3 and 4 for a tournament.