The Notre Dame Cougars senior girls battled to the bitter end at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Team Handball Championships.
They came up short against a strong St. Peter the Apostle squad in the bronze medal game Saturday, falling 23-16 to the Spartans and ending the weekend in fourth place.
Notre Dame was missing three key seniors for the game and a stout defensive effort from the Spartans was the difference.
“They had a very effective defence. We were down a couple of players that have been with us and they added a dimension to our offence that we didn’t have today,” said Cougars coach James Ward.
“Credit to the opponent, they came to play and they were very effective. They were beatable. But sometimes, you get down on yourself and beat yourself rather than the opponent.
The Spartans led 12-7 at the half and extended the lead to 20-10 midway through the second before Notre Dame mounted a comeback and got within five late in the game.
Still, Ward was proud of the effort from his group all season long and highlighted the performance to beat Harry Ainlay Friday was a huge boost for the program.
“I’ve been with these girls since many of them were in grade 1o. They’re wonderful ladies. They’re great citizens, good people. So it’s a real pleasure to work with them. So I’m very proud of them,” Ward said.
The Notre Dame senior boys finished fifth, with a 23-22 win over the host St. Joseph Falcons in the fifth-place game. The Falcons senior girls finished sixth after a 32-16 loss to the Titans.
The Salisbury Composite Sabres earned gold with a 38-17 win over Lillian Osborne. In the boys gold medal game, Lillian Osborne knocked off Bishop O’Bryne 31-25 to earn the title.
Tier II Team Handball Championships
The host Bentley Panthers were victorious at Lacombe Composite High School, earning gold at the Tier II Team Handball Championships over Notre Dame of Bonnyville.
Bentley edged Notre Dame 31-28 to win gold. In the girls bronze medal game, Bentley ousted Our Lady of the Snows 29-25 to earn bronze.