Westwind Weekly News
The Stirling Lakers came up one win short of the 1A Girls Basketball Provincial Championship in Bawlf.
After cruising past the first two opponents, Stirling came up against a defensively-stout Parkland Immanuel Christian team, and fell 68-59 in Saturday’s gold-medal game.
Despite the best efforts of Amy Mazutinec, who poured in a team-high 31 points, the Lakers came up just short, as Parkland completed a solid run to the provincial championship. Savannah McKee scored 13 for the Lakers and Sadie Nelson added 10, as Stirling was forced to settle for silver.
“Parkland ran a very aggressive man to man full court,” said Stirling coach Donna Branch, as she highlighted just one of the challenges the Parkland team posed.
Branch added Parkland was able to shut down two of Stirling’s offensively-dynamic trio of Mazutinec, McKee and Nelson
“Those three girls have consistently been in double figures for us this year but only Amy was able to score in the final,” said the coach. “The other two scored but the pressure caused them to miss shots that they usually make.”
Nelson got in a bit of foul trouble, which took away her confidence to go to the rim and to play her aggressive defense, according to Branch, who added Parkland’s offence also gave the Lakers fits.
“Parkland was a very quick team and went to the rim very well off the dribble hand-off offense. They also rebounded very well, which gave them many second chances.”
The tournament started on a high note, however, as Stirling rolled to a 75-58 win on Friday over Hines Creek. Mazutinec led the way with 18 points, while Nelson added 16 and McKee chipped in with 14. Brittney Perry scored 10 points for Stirling.
The Lakers followed that up with an 87-57 win over Olds Koinonia, as McKee paced Stirling with 27 points. Mazutinec added 22 and Nelson contributed 21 points.
It all added up to a successful season for the Lakers, a team Branch added dealt with high expectations right from the opening tip of the season.
“This team carried a lot of pressure with them all year. Not too many teams get a chance to go for five in a row. We have been ranked No. 1 in the province for the last four years, and I think that being the one that teams wanted to beat wore a bit on these girls.”
That said, the team’s championship pedigree is something successive versions of the Lakers should be very proud of, according to the coach.
“We have five zone titles in a row and made ASAA history as four-in-a-row provincial champions. We had a great season and Stirling Lakers have had a great run!”