Calgary teams take provincial titles

The Notre Dame Pride ran into some problems in the Calgary playoffs and as a result were ranked eighth heading into the high school provincial 4A basketball championships. But they finished exactly where they wanted as they defeated the Raymond Comets 110-94 in a highly entertaining boys’ final at Lindsay Thurber High School Saturday.

Pride 110 Comets 94

The Notre Dame Pride ran into some problems in the Calgary playoffs and as a result were ranked eighth heading into the high school provincial 4A basketball championships.

But they finished exactly where they wanted as they defeated the Raymond Comets 110-94 in a highly entertaining boys’ final at Lindsay Thurber High School Saturday.

“It wasn’t the best ranking, but we said coming in if we wanted to be the best we had to beat the best,” said Pride co-head coach Chris Thompson, whose team defeated the No. 1 ranked Archbishop O’Leary Spartans 88-65 in the quarter-finals, the fourth-ranked Lethbridge Collegiate Institute Rams 75-69 in the semifinals and third-ranked Comets.

“We didn’t do as well in the city championships as we liked, but this was the icing on the cake,” added Thompson.

The Comets, who reached the final with a 98-91 win over the second-ranked Harry Ainlay Titans of Edmonton, started off strong, grabbing a 27-19 lead after the first quarter. However, the Pride began hitting some of their outside shots and started to control the inside and led 52-47 at the half. They led 80-72 after the third quarter, but the Comets showed their offensive skill by tying the game at 84. The Pride regained the lead on a pair of free throws by David Kuac and they never trailed again. The Pride hit on 10 of their last 14 free throws over the last three minutes and held the Comets to one three-point shot.

“We were a bit worried the way they (Comets) started out shooting extremely well,” said Thompson. “They played basketball like we knew they would, but I give our guys all the credit. They weathered the storm and battled hard and deserved the win.”

Six-foot-four centre Tyrell Lindren led the Pride with 27 points, all from inside or the free throw line.

“Our big guys have been the foundation of the team all season. They all worked hard in practice and on the floor.”

Kuac added 22 points and Aaron Tesfagiorgis 21 for the Pride while Boomer Heggie had 30, Brock Dewsbery 24 and Chase Bohne 21 for the Comets, who have only two Grade 12 players and all their top players return.

Browns 54 Rebels 46

Meanwhile the top-seeded St. Francis Browns of Calgary downed the second-ranked Jasper Place Rebels of Edmonton 54-46 in the girls’ final, also at LTCHS.

The Browns took an early lead and never trailed, although the Rebels, who have all Grade 10 and 11 players, narrowed the gap to 40-39 early in the fourth quarter.

The Browns went on an 8-0 run to take control.

“They’re a remarkable team, well skilled, aggressive and extremely smart,” said Browns head coach Claire Mitton. “They put a lot of pressure on us and took us out of our rhythm. We usually have a great transition game, but that wasn’t easy today. Every basket was with extreme effort.

“But our five starters are all going to play post-secondary next year and they showed their composure.”

The Browns were the top-ranked team all season, which put pressure on the team.

“We’ve been hunted all season, but I told the girls toward the end lets be the hunted and go out and get what we want.”

Emma Kary led the Browns with 17 points while Brianna Fehr added 15 and Summer Masikewich 14. Haily Weaver had 13, Sydney Fedick 11 and Morgan Mudge 10 for Jasper Place.

Raiders 68 Saints 64 (OT)

The LTCHS Raiders put the finishing touches on a solid championship, downing the St Mary’s Saints of Calgary 68-64 in overtime to win the girls’ consolation title Saturday morning at LTCHS.

After losing their opening game of the tournament 56-43 to Spruce Grove, the Raiders downed Foothills 72-43, Cardston 79-71 and St. Mary’s.

The Raiders led most of the way until late when the Saints tied it at 58.

The Raiders came back to take a 66-64 lead then Nikki Thomas put the nail in the coffin, hitting a pair of free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining.

“Nikki works extremely hard. She’s a terrific rebounder and has been working hard on her shooting and what a key time to come up with two good shots,” said Raiders head coach Kathy Lalor, who couldn’t have been happier.

“Overall the girls played well all weekend and they all contributed,” she said.

“They have to feel good. I was happy with the way our shooting came along after that first game. We didn’t shoot well that game, but yesterday (Saturday) I was happy with both games. We played four good quarters in both games. The last one here we had a bad quarter (outscored 17-4 in the fourth against the Saints), but the girls hung in there.

“I’m pleased. We won three games in the provincials and we have two Grade 10s and six Grade 11s and this experience will only help them next year.”

They will lose Grade 12 standout Kelsey Lalor, who had 23 points in the consolation final. Jenna Hawkes added nine and Hayley Lalor had eight. Alexa Tan had 35 for the Saints.

Meanwhile, in other girls play the Hunting Hills Lightning tied for 13th by defeating Charles Spencer of Grande Prairie 96-40 with Gabby Spenst and Kristen Loney finishing with 14 points each and Leah and Paige Hagel 12 apiece.

Catholic Central of Lethbridge took third place on the girls’ side with a 67-55 win over Western Canada of Calgary and St. Albert Catholic stopped Spruce Grove 67-55 for fifth-place.

In other boys’ play, the Notre Dame Cougars finished tied for 13th with a 85-77 win over Charles Spencer while the LTCHS Raiders lost in their 13th-place game 85-83 in overtime to Lloydminster.

Cody White had 29 points and Rudy Soffo 14 for the Cougars with TK Kunaka and Ben Pasiuk hitting 15 each and Vince Barbuco and Kade Best 10 apiece.

LCI won the boys’ bronze with a 102-82 win over Harry Ainlay. Archbishop O’Leary took fifth with a 109-66 win over Lester B Pearson.

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