By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
It was a banner weekend for Raymond basketball, which culminated with two zone championship games Saturday at the University of Lethbridge.
Only one Comets squad finished with a championship, however, as the girls dominated Lethbridge Collegiate en route to a 96-76 win, while the boys went shot for shot with top-ranked Cardston in a thrilling 108-105 defeat.
In the girls game, Saige Gibb paced the Raymond attack with 26, while Kyla Bohne added 19. It marked the second straight zone title for the Comets, as Raymond led 53-37 at the half and cruised to victory from there.
The zone championship came despite the fact Raymond entered the post-season as the third seed, with a 9-5 record-season record, behind 14-0 Magrath and 11-3 Cardston.
Raymond began the tournament with an 82-41 win over CCH and followed that up with a 53-48 win in the semifinals over Cardston, boosted by Gibb’s 21 points and 15 from Bohne.
Magrath had to settle for bronze however, as the Pandas suffered a 68-62 upset in the semifinals against LCI. Lauren Payne scored 17 for the Pandas, while Lucy Wilde added 13 and Montana Berezay had 12.
That loss pushed Magrath to the consolation side, where the Pandas defeated Catholic Central 71-62 in the semifinal, to book a spot in provincials.
Lauren Payne’s 27 point led all scorers, as Taylor had 15 and Ellie Wilde added 13.
Magrath then went on to defeat Cardston 67-56 to take third place. Taylor led the way with 22, as Payne added 16 and Lucy Wilde chipped in with 10.
Raymond’s boys team put in a valiant effort against the top-ranked Cougars, as Shae Gibb’s superhuman 54-point effort was not enough in the end.
Cardston led 93-83 with five minutes left on the clock, as the Comets staged a comeback, which cut the Cougars lead to 98-94 at one point.
With Raymond forced to foul to extend the game, a Gibb three pointer trimmed Cardston’s lead to 108-103. Two missed Cardston free throws gave the Comets life, as a Jeter Heggie bucket cut the lead to 108-105.
Cardston missed two more free throw attempts, but a Cougars offensive rebound sealed the win, as Raymond’s comeback bid simply ran out of time.
After an 87-69 opening-round win over Magrath, Raymond advanced to the final with a 111-77 win over LCI, thanks to 37 points from Gibb and 19 each from Heggie and Drake Still. Boston Harker had 15 and Brady Baines added 10.
Magrath fell 87-69 in the consolation semifinals of Friday, after the Zeniths defeated Winston Churchill 90-76 on Thursday. In the victory, Cody Tollestrup had 18, Ammon Goldthorp had 15, Colton Finck and Garrett Stock had 14 each and Mason Stock added 13.
Raymond’s two teams, along with the Pandas, now head to Edmonton, where Jasper Place High School will host the 4A provincial tournaments.
The Comets boys open play today at 9 a.m. against St. Francis Xavier. A win in that opening-round match up would put Raymond in the Thursday, 6 p.m. game against the winner of Jasper Place and Beaverlodge.
The semifinal on Raymond’s side of the bracket is set for Friday at 6 p.m., while the final will be played Saturday at 8 p.m.
Raymond’s girls team will begin play today at 11 a.m. against Salisbury. A Comets win would push Raymond into tonight’s 8 p.m. game against the winner of Western Canada and Foothills, with a spot in the Friday, 8 p.m. semifinal on the line. The champion will be crowned after the 6 p.m. game on Saturday.
Magrath’s provincial journey begins today at 9 a.m. against Paul Kane. A Pandas win would advance Magrath to the 6 p.m. game against the winner of Bishop Carroll and Lindsay Thurber. Two wins could put the Pandas on a collision course with the Comets in the Friday, 8 p.m. semifinal.