Westwind Weekly News
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
For many in southern Alberta, early March likely tops the Christmas season as their favourite spot on the calendar, as zone basketball tournaments are set to kick off at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College and various local schools.
The Magrath Zeniths, the defending 4A zone champions, enter zones as the top seed, by virtue of the team’s 13-1 regular-season record.
Magrath opened play last night, against the eighth-seeded Chinook Coyotes, with a spot in tonight’s semifinal on the line.
“I’m happy with the team’s effort so far,” said Magrath coach Danny Balderson, as he summed up the regular season. “Hopefully, we can put it together for zones.”
A win against Chinook would put Magrath in the semifinal game today at 9 p.m. at the University of Lethbridge, against the winner of the Raymond-Catholic Central contest. According to Balderson, no matter who the opponent ends up being, his team will have to bring its “A” game.
“Focusing on execution on both the offensive and defensive end,” he said, in terms of the keys to success for his team. “Playing smart basketball, staying composed with all the pressure and bright lights of the zone tournament.”
Balderson added his team has grown in many areas since the beginning of the season, and hopes are high for an extended zone/provincial run.
“I have seen improvement in many players who have stepped up their game and are handling pressure much better. They are putting more pressure on opposing players, which helps our offence.”
On the girls side, Raymond is in the driver’s seat, with the No. 1 seed. The Comets will wait for the winner of Wendesday night’s Cardston (4) and Medicine Hat (5) game, to see which team advances to tonight’s 5 p.m. semifinal at the U of L.
Third-ranked Magrath took on sixth-ranked Catholic Central last night (results unavailable at press time), to determine one of the spots in the other semifinal. The CCH-Magrath winner will take on the Chinook-LCI winner in the 3 p.m. semifinal contest at the U of L.
The 4A girls championship game is Saturday at 6 p.m. at the U of L.
On the 1A side of the bracket, the Stirling Lakes will be a factor in both the boys and girls tournaments.
The boys, ranked fifth, kicked things off Monday with an 86-41 win over Piikani Nation. Orin Smith poured in 21 points, Hunter Michelson added 14 and Ty Mazutinec had 12. Stirling moved on to take on Senator Gershaw last night (results unavailable at press time). A Stirling win will move the Lakes into the Friday semifinal at 5 p.m. at the college. The championship game is set for Saturday at 8 p.m.
The girls, ranked second, took on Noble Central (7) Wednesday at the college. The winner of that game will advance to today’s 5 p.m. semifinal, against the Earle Rivers/St. Mary’s winner.
The 1A girls championship game goes at 2 p.m. on Saturday, at the college.