By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
Both Stirling Lakers basketball teams are off to 1A provincials after capturing their respective zone championships.
The boys earned zone gold with an 81-56 win over Coaldale Christian, while the Lakers girls clinched first place with a 58-47 win over Foremost.
Orin Smith paced the Lakers attack in the win over Coaldale with 35 points, as Ty Mazutinec added 19 and Ryder Nelson had 16. Stirling led 40-31 at the half, and cruised to victory with a solid second half.
Stirling’s girls team used a stifling second-half defensive effort to turn a 29-29 halftime tie into an 11-point win, as Foremost only managed 18 totals points in the second half.
Savannah McKee led the Lakers with 20 points, as Halle Smith scored 18 and Sadie Nelson added 10.
The boys advanced to the final with a 96-53 win over J.T. Foster, as Nelson scored 24, with Mazutinec and Smith added 18 each.
In Stirling’s opener, the Lakers easily dispatched Warner, by a score of 109-35. Nelson led the way with 36, while Smith had 11, Mazutinec chipped in with 14 and Clark Bikman added 11.
On the girls side of the draw, the Lakers earned a 66-46 win over Senator Gershaw in the semifinal, led by McKee’s 27-point effort. Nelson added 18.
Stirling opened play with a 70-33 win over St. Mike’s, thanks to 26 points from Nelson and 23 from McKee.
Both teams now prepare for provincials, which begin today. The Lakers boys are ranked No. 1 in a 12-team field, as Stirling is set to host, with games scheduled for Stirling High School and Raymond High School.
Games begin today at 9 a.m. in Stirling, with Olds Koinonia taking on Sexsmith. Top-ranked Stirling will not take to the court until today at 4:45 p.m., as the Lakers will face the winner of the 10:45 a.m. game that features St. Mary’s and J.T. Foster.
A Thursday win would put the Lakers in the Friday semifinal game at 7 p.m.
The tournament championship game is set for Saturday at 5 p.m., while the bronze-medal game is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. The fifth-place game is Saturday at 1 p.m.
And while the boys hope to enjoy some home cooking, the girls will travel to E.H. Walter School in Paradise Valley, a small community located about 50 kilometres southwest of Lloydminster.
The Lakers will also have a first-round bye, and won’t play until Friday, as they await the winner of this morning’s Menno Simons-Parkland Immanuel Christian game. A victory in the Friday 10:15 a.m. game would put the Lakers in the semifinal Friday at 7 p.m., with a spot in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game on the line.
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