By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
It was a banner weekend for southern Alberta high school basketball teams.
For the Magrath Zeniths and the Raymond Comets, it was also a weekend of perfection for the respective senior boys and senior girls programs.
On Saturday, Magrath capped a perfect league season with a 91-77 dismantling of the Cardston Cougars in the 4A zone championship game. Magrath’s undefeated regular season gave the team a first-round bye and set up an 82-51 win over Medicine Hat High in the zone semifinal.
The zone contests were rarely in doubt for a Magrath team that has been dominant during the 2021/2022 season, and now enters the 4A provincials as the No. 1 seed. The Zeniths will get a first-round bye, and will play on Thursday at 8:30 p.m., in Magrath, against the winner of No. 8 Leduc and No. 9 Holy Trinity Academy. A win in the late game on Thursday would put Magrath in the Friday semifinal, set for 6 p.m. in Cardston. The 4A championship game will be played Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in Cardston.
It is the exact same story for the Raymond Comets, as the girls team enters 4A provincials as the top seed.
Raymond also captured the 4A zone championship, with a 72-65 win over the Magrath Pandas, a team that came into zones as the No. 2 squad in the provincial rankings. The Comets earned a first-round bye and then absolutely hammered Cardston in the semifinal, to the tune of 93-29.
Magrath needed two wins to reach the zone final, as the Pandas began zones with a 107-13 dismantling of the Chinook Coyotes. Things were nearly as easy for Magrath in the next round, as the Pandas defeated Catholic Central by a hefty 52 points in a 90-38 win.
The Comets hold the No. 1 seed for 4A provincials, as the team has a first-round bye. On Thursday at 6 p.m. in Raymond, the Comets will take on the winner of No. 8 Foothills Composite and No. 9 William Aberhart. A win in the Thursday game would put Raymond in Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal, also hosted by Raymond. The 4A final is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Raymond.
The Pandas also earned a first-round bye, as No. 2 Magrath will wait until Thursday at 6 p.m. to take on the winner of No. 7 Jasper Place and No. 10 Lindsay Thurber. That game will be in Magrath. If the Pandas win that contest, a spot in the Friday semifinal at 8:30 p.m. awaits. That game will be in Raymond.
Raymond’s senior boys dropped the 4A consolation final by an 80-64 score, as Medicine Hat proved to be the zone nemesis for the Comets. The Hat defeated Raymond 98-97 in the zone opener, which forced the Comets to play the Lethbridge Collegiate Rams in a Friday elimination game. Raymond won that contest 90-71, to end LCI’s season.
On the junior varsity side of things, the Zeniths captured that league title as well, as Magrath topped LCI 93-78 in last Wednesday’s semifinal game, and then defeated Medicine Hat 94-82 in the Friday gold-medal game.
The Raymond girls won the JV title Friday with a 75-69 win over LCI, after a decisive 81-51 win over Chinook in the semies last Wednesday.
Magrath lost 43-37 to LCI in last Wednesday’s semifinal, which ended the season for the junior Pandas.
On the 2A scene, the Stirling Lakers fell to W.R. Myers in the 2A zone final, by a score of 83-78.
Stirling was on cruise control up until that point, as the Lakers won the tournament opener 65-46 over Immanuel Christian and followed that up with a 108-80 win over Coaldale’s Kate Andrews in the semifinal.
The Lakers move on the provincials, as Stirling ended the season as the No. 5 ranked team in Alberta’s 2A landscape.
Stirling opens provincials Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against No. 5 Bearspaw Christian, the host team.
The Stirling girls won the 1A zone title with an 82-46 win over St. Mike’s. Stirling advanced to the final with a huge 95-37 win over J.T. Foster.
Stirling will advance to provincials as the No. 2 seed, topped only by Edmonton’s Parkland Immanuel Christian. The Lakers play Thursday at 9 p.m. against the winner of No. 7 St. Michael’s and No. 10 Breton High.