Lightning boys strike first; Raider girls win first game of zone playoff
Lightning 88 Raiders 69
If the Lindsay Thurber Raiders aren’t at the top of their game they have little chance of handling the Hunting Hills Lightning.
That was the case as the two opened their best-of-three zone 4A boys’ basketball playoff at LTCHS Tuesday.
The Lightning showed early on why they’re the top team in the conference storming out to an early lead and going on to down the Raiders 88-69.
“We’re capable of playing the game better than we did tonight,” said Raiders head coach Dwayne Lalor. “But they came prepared to play a good basketball game and that’s what they’re supposed to do.”
Lightning head coach Scott Doan didn’t have a lot to say, although he was pleased with the effort.
“Our starters did a good job, and I thought the kids coming in off the bench added a lot as well,” he said. “I was happy with what I saw and almost everyone scored.”
The Lightning led 10-1 early and were up 28-15 after the first quarter. They extended the lead to 51-24 at the half. The Raiders picked up the pace in the second half as the teams had 21 points apiece in the third quarter. LTCHS outscored the Lightning 24-16 in the final quarter as Doan went to the end of his bench.
“I guess the theory is to get the kids in who don’t play a lot, but I wasn’t happy with what we did,” he said. “We could have made the score better, but what’s the point. They need the experience.”
Doan also knows it’s just one win and expects his squad to be ready for the second game Thursday at Hunting Hills.
“It’s tough to start on the road, but that’s alright. We’re home now for the next two games if need be. Hopefully we can finish it up Thursday.”
On the other hand Lalor is glad to have another shot.
“We’re not finished,” he said. “We get a chance to work on some things at practice and be better prepared. I need to do a better job in preparation before we go up there. The first half today our offence was stagnant and no one was going to the rim. So whoever had the ball was forced to shoot.”
That was usually point guard Spencer Klassen, who struggled early before finally finding his range.
Klassen led both teams with 25 points but the Lightning had four players in double figures led by Sean Campbell with 19. Joel Peterson had 18, Jesse Ross 13 and Dallas Hancox 12. Tyson Best added 12 for the Raiders.
Raiders 65 Lightning 34
The opening game of the best-of-three girls’ 4A final was a complete opposite as the Raiders played a solid two-way game to record a 65-34 win over the Lightning.
“We had a couyple slumps, but overall we played good all year,” said Raiders head coach Kathy Lalor. “We just wanted the girls to play hard and show how hard they worked to get here. Plus I was most happy with our defence. Good defence leads to offensive opportunities.”
The Raiders defence was especially solid in the second quarter when they outscored the Lightning 14-0 to take a 27-11 lead.
“My girls were simply not getting any kind of ball movement and not even looking to score,” said Lightning head coach Jill de Jonge. “And really the best minutes in the second half came from my bench players. My best players weren’t my best players and hopefully that changes Thursday.”
All 13 players dressed for the Raiders scored, including JV pickup Bretton Bowd.
“We wanted to bring her up for some experience and having an extra player in that spot (guard) doesn’t hurt,” said Lalor. “She’s played well for the JVs all season and the our girls took to her right away.”
Despite the easy win, Lalor gave the Lightning credit.
“They worked hard right to the end and didn’t give up, but then no team does that Jill coaches. We also know that this is just one game and Hunting will work hard Thursday and we have to be ready.”
Lalor added that she challenged the team before the game and they listened.
“I gave them a couple challenges and they stepped up. Everyone gave us something and that’s what we want. We want to play well this time of the year as you know you have to in the zone final. Who has the heart and hustle will get it done.”
Rachel Bysterveld led the Raiders with 12 points while Amy Whitesell added 11, Cara Vandervlis 10 and Erin Seater eight. Abbey Busch had eight for the Lightning.
The girls tip off Thursday at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow. If third games are needed in either series they’re set for Friday with the girls at LTCHS and the boys at Hunting Hills.