By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
The Magrath Pandas senior varsity basketball team finished off their Southern Alberta High School Basketball League (SAHSBL) regular season at home on Saturday with a 66-56 victory over the Raymond Comets, despite being down at the half.
“It was an awesome win, it’s always fun to beat Raymond,” said Pandas head coach Kristyn Barfuss after the game. She was proud of how the girls played both offensively and defensively to cap off Seniors Night.
“The girls said it was the first time in 15 years that we beat Raymond both times in league, so it was a big and important win to the girls.”
Teesha Olson led the Pandas scoring effort with 19 points, followed closely by Tana Stewart with 18.
Teyah Weir answered back for the Comets with 21 points. Dezarae Jensen had 10 points followed by Haylee Ralph’s seven.
“We always expect to win, especially against Magrath and it always hurts losing,” said Comets head coach Jentry Salmon about the loss.
Salmon added that the Comets outplayed the Pandas in every quarter except the third, where the Pandas “killed us.”
A seven-point lead going into the second half of the game wasn’t enough for the Comets. After the Pandas adjusted their defence, the Comets couldn’t get any baskets.
The Pandas finished the regular season with an 8-5 record, ranking first in 3A Zones Provincially to earn a bye into the semifinal Zones game that will take place Friday at 4 p.m. at Winston Churchill in Lethbridge.
The game will be between the winner of the Crescent Heights or Eagle Butte, both of which teams the Pandas have not played so far this season.
“For sure on Friday we will be playing a team that we haven’t seen this season, so we need to be as prepared as we can be,” explained Barfuss, noting it will be tricky preparing based solely on background research.
Both Alyssa Doig and Jamie Cook will be out for Zones because of injuries, leaving nine girls on the roster. Barfuss has pulled several JV girls up to get experience and be on the bench if they are needed.
The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday at Winston Churchill. The top three teams in the South Zone will earn a spot in Provincials.
The Raymond Comets senior girls basketball team closed out the regular season with a 7-6 record and ranked second in 4A to earn a bye to the semifinal Zones game.
“We have been pretty up and down,” said Salmon. “We played well in tournaments and beat a lot of teams that were better than us on paper, but we also lost games that we shouldn’t have too … I think we underachieved what our expectations were.”
This year’s Comet squad was young, featuring four grade 10’s on the 10 member roster.
The Comets are scheduled to play at 3p.m. on Thursday at the University of Lethbridge Interior Savings Centre in the semi final game. The match will be against whoever wins between CCH and LCI in their quarterfinal battle.
Salmon shared that the Comets beat LCI by quite a few points the one time they played this year and beat CCH twice by 20 points.
“Either way it is a game we expect to win, but I guess you never know in tournaments and March is a gravy basketball month,” he added. He is expecting to play Cardston at 6 p.m. Saturday night in the Championship game.
“If we win Thursday we are going (to Provincals) for sure. It is just a matter of what seed we will be. I expect to make a run, coming off two Provincial finals in a row, so anything less would be disappointing.”
Seniors Hayley Ralph and Nevada Bartsoff already have two years of Provincial experience under their belts and Salmon expects them to continue being leaders on the court. Grade 10 Teyah Weir has continually been a big point contributor for the Comets posting a game average of 16.2 points a game for a total of 210 points over 13 games.
The Magrath Zeniths senior varsity basketball team closed out their Southern Alberta High School Basketball League (SAHSBL) regular season on the road Saturday with a 92-89 loss at the hands of the Cardston Cougars.
“We missed some important baskets down the final stretch or we could have won the game, but we didn’t make them, so we didn’t win,” said head coach Allen Gallup about the unfortunate loss in a back and forth close game.
Tim McMahon and Austin Bennett both had strong games, racking up 30 points apiece, but it was not enough in the end. Carter Hansen contributed 20 rebounds and 15 points to the losing effort.
The Zeniths hit the court in the Tom Karren Gym Wednesday at 7 p.m. to faceoff against Winston Churchill in Zones quarterfinal action. Results were unknown at press time.
“Undoubtedly if we do our job and Cardston does there’s, we will meet Cardston on Thursday (in the semifinals),” predicted Gallup.
The 4A Boys Zone final match is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the U of L.
The Zeniths finished the regular season with a 10-4 record and Gallup is expecting them to have a strong showing at Zones and earn a spot in Provincials. The boys have been working hard to prepare and will do well if they play there game, he shared.
“We have had a few ups and downs in our learning curve, but we are still on the right road.”
Currently the Zeniths are ranked ninth in the 4A Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) Provincial Varsity Basketball Rankings.
The Raymond Comets senior varsity boys basketball team closed out their Southern Alberta High School Basketball League (SAHSBL) regular season with a big 109-84 win against the Chinook Coyotes in front of a home crowd.
“It was our Senior Night and it was nice to play well at our last home game. It was great to see five seniors on the floor together but tough to see Tom Wilde on the bench with a shoulder injury,” said head coach Todd Heggie.
Jaxon Davison led the winning effort with 36 points, followed by Boomer Heggie with 26 and Brock Dewsbery with 24.
Heggie said that one of the trio has led the scoring for most of the games this season.
The Comets finished in fifth place in league, “which is not as high as we would have liked but the boys played well against some top teams in the province. So I feel as though we can compete in playoffs if we can put a few things together that we have been focusing on in practice.”
The Comets played their first Zones game Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Catholic Central in the quarterfinals. Results were not known by press time.
If they win they will play the winner of the Chinook and LCI matchup at 7 p.m. Thursday. LCI finished the regular season ranked first in the league.
“We have high hopes for Zones and are setting our goal at getting one of the 3 berths to Provincials. It will be tough for us, but we feel like we have a chance.”