Cougars battle for playoff spots in senior high school basketball

The Notre Dame Cougars are relying on some savvy guard play to guide them through this high school basketball season.

There have been some up and downs this year for Notre Dame but they’re still on track for a second place finish in the Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association regular season.

They topped the West Central High School Rebels 43-31 Tuesday night and have a 6-3 record on the year.

“We felt like we were stuck in the mud. We just couldn’t get motivated,” said Cougars head coach Ed Major.

“We are usually much faster and a little more efficient than we were tonight. (West Central) played well, we just couldn’t generate anything.”

Led by guards Erin Tanagras and Ireland Black, head coach Ed Major is happy with the progression of his team this year and hopes it will continue in the playoffs later this month.

“The season has been going really well. For the last couple years, we’ve been lacking some skills and this year we’ve put it all together. We have some girls who can score, girls that can rebound and girls that can play defence,” Major said.

“Overall, our strength is the ability to shoot the ball. We have a lot of good shooters and when we get hot, we find those shooters.”

In Tuesday’s win, Black had 10 points while Tanagras chipped in a team-high 13. For the Rebels, Brooklyn Hall had 13 points.

Major has coached the dynamic duo since grade 10 and he said this year they’ve really come into their own.

“They’ve really come together this year and been our leaders. At every game, they seem to stand up and get us going. One of the two or both,” Major added.

The Cougars will likely face Hunting Hills in the 4A semifinal in two weeks time and Major said it’s been a close battle between the two teams all year long.

They’ll finish off the regular season on Thursday against Ponoka.

The Notre Dame Cougars senior boys went back and forth all night long with the West Central High School Rebels, but managed to pull away from the visitors in the second half on Tuesday night.

Notre Dame picked up a dominant 77-55 victory in Central Alberta Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association basketball action thanks to some strong defence late, and finally found some consistency that hasn’t been there at times this year.

“I was happy, we needed a good showing from a playoff point of view and we’ve struggled lately. I thought our defence made a big difference tonight and kept us in the game and helped energize us in the second half,” Cougars head coach Dale Henderson said.

“(West Central) kind of ran out of gas in the second half. I know they’re in a tough place right now… they’re a good team, I have the utmost respect for Justin (Klein) and their team. They’re going to have a good run in the playoffs. “

Rudy Soffo led the Cougars with 18 points and Issac Colosimo was also a key contributor with 12. The pair makes up the proverbial straw that stirs the drink of the Notre Dame offence. Also, a deep rotation helps subsidize some additional scoring.

“All four of our big guys, that’s where we get a lot of our bread and butter,” Henderson said.

“Our guards get to add in on the kick outs because the post is covered. Our four post players have been a big part of our offence.”

The Cougars are in a heated battle for the second spot in the 4A senior boys basketball loop and will need another big performance Thursday against Ponoka at home.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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