Raiders 52 Lightning 51
Seconds before the final buzzer Thursday at Hunting Hills High School, there was hesitation on the Lindsay Thurber Raiders bench.
When time expired, they had won the Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association senior girls basketball 4A city final 52-51 against the Hunting Hills Lightning, only it took a second for it to sink in.
With 1.7 seconds on the clock and the Raiders up four, Lightning coach Jill de Jong drew up a play for a three pointer and while the play didn’t work out, the shot did.
It wasn’t quite enough and the Raiders advanced to provincials with a one point win in game two of the best-of-three series victory.
“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a series this tight and really that’s what it should be. That’s what it’s like in every other part of the province. It was awesome,” Lindsay Thurber head coach Kathy Lalor said.
Both teams were in control of the game at points, including the Raiders opening the game with a 15-3 lead after one quarter, but Hunting Hills in control at half 23-19.
“It was a battle, I don’t know how many times the lead changed, I think maybe six or seven times,” Lalor said. “Both teams wanted it. We really didn’t want to play a game three and they really wanted it, so that brings out the best in everybody.”
De Jong said despite the slow start from her team, the bounce back and ability to rise up to the challenge made her proud.
“They responded well to me challenging them. We did not come out strong,” she said. “They had an amazing second quarter. I challenged the post to rebound tonight and holy smokes did they ever step up.
“I told the kids to attack the basket and when they did, we were scoring. Occasionally, in girls athletics they lose their heads and they stop doing what’s working.”