Notre Dame Cougars guard Brayden Hessler carries the ball up the floor against the Louis St. Laurent Barons in the opening game of the Cougar Classic at Notre Dame Friday afternoon. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Notre Dame Cougars guard Brayden Hessler carries the ball up the floor against the Louis St. Laurent Barons in the opening game of the Cougar Classic at Notre Dame Friday afternoon. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Host Cougars kick off classic with a bang

The annual Cougar Classic basketball tournament has been running for 24 years at Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cougars senior boys basketball coach Dale Henderson couldn’t help but smile.

After all, the opener of the annual Cougar Classic couldn’t have gone any better for the host squad, playing their first game of the season.

They ran out to a 56-19 lead at halftime over the Louis St. Laurent Barons and rolled to a convincing 106-54 victory at Notre Dame Friday.

“We ran the ball, we pushed and we pushed it, so I was excited about that. We have four or five new guys. So they have to figure out how to play at this level but I was happy with a lot of things,” Henderson said.

“We scored a lot in the first half and that made the second half a lot easier.”

Jess Money, one of the Cougars’ big forwards, of which they have several, led the way with 24 points. Fellow big man Parker Weinrauch also had a strong night with 21 points.

The length those two bring to the floor, along with a collection of player six-feet-one or taller allowed the Cougars to do dominate the boards and clog the lane in their season opener.

“The goal is to keep them fresh. Shorter shifts, get out, go hard for three or four minutes and then hop out. If someone gets in foul trouble, we’ve got guys behind them that can support,” Henderson said.

“We just gotta keep them fresh and keep teaching them how to be strong and finish, little things like that.”

Not only was that key, but Notre Dame also ran the floor well, pushing the pace with the 56 points at the half.

Henderson certainly didn’t know what to expect coming into the year or the opener, with seven returners but five new bodies joining the squad this season.

“We have four or five new guys that we have to put in the lineup because they all have to be able to play. The younger guys are pushing the older guys,” Henderson said.

“The guys that have come in are all capable of playing. We had to cut kids that are capable of playing at this level, which doesn’t always happen.”

As for the classic, as a tournament, it has operated in the region for at least 37 years, first at Camielle J. Lerouge and the last 24 at Notre Dame.

Henderson said they always draw some of the top schools in the province and on occasion, one or two from out of province. It creates a competitive way to start the season for the vast majority of teams.

“It’s always nice to win your home tournament, for me, it’s about getting good games in and giving guys a chance to play against good competition,” he said.

Along with the Cougars and Barons, the Jasper Place Rebels, Assumption, Holy Trinity, St. Joseph Falcons, St. Joes Edmonton and Mount Baker out of Cranbrook will all compete on the weekend. The gold medal game is Saturday night at 8:15 p.m.

On the girls’ side, the Cougars picked up a 66-21 victory over the Barons. They will play Leduc Composite High School on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Notre Dame. Assumption, Holy Trinty, St. Joseph Red Deer, McCoy and Winston Churchill make up the rest of the girls’ bracket. The gold medal game is Saturday at 6:30 p.m.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is now on the path to grant degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Problems with vagrancy in downtown Red Deer were behind a push to build a 24/7 shelter in the city. Nearly a year after a $7 million commitment from the province, there is little movement on this "top priority" project. (Advocate file photo).
Little progress on ‘top priority’ 24/7 homeless shelter project for Red Deer

No details can yet be provided by the city or province

Blackfalds RCMP are investigating two suspicious fires that happened in Lacombe County in November. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta man charged for exposing himself in public

The man was charged under similar circumstances in 2019

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Adam Hadwin, of Canada, chips to the second green during the first round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Adam Hadwin hopes to hit reset button in 2021 starting with American Express

Japan's Yuto Totsuka competes during the men's World Cup freestyle halfpipe snowboard event in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Calgary runs out of runway to host world freestyle, snowboard championships

Calgary runs out of runway to host world freestyle, snowboard championships

Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio (21) celebrates his goal during extra time MLS playoff soccer action against the D.C. United, in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Osorio says a lot has changed with the Canadian national team since he first came to camp in 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Jonathan Osorio upbeat about what lies ahead for Canadian men’s soccer team

Jonathan Osorio upbeat about what lies ahead for Canadian men’s soccer team

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, centre, celebrates his goal with teammates during second period NHL hockey action against the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl (29) hits Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (11) during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Oilers’ Draisaitl scores winner as showdown with Maple Leafs fails to live up to hype

Oilers’ Draisaitl scores winner as showdown with Maple Leafs fails to live up to hype

Conservative MP Derek Sloan arrives to a meeting in Ottawa on September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
MP Derek Sloan ejected from Conservative caucus for “destructive behaviour”: O’Toole

MP Derek Sloan ejected from Conservative caucus for “destructive behaviour”: O’Toole

Former truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., on Friday, March 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2008, file photo, Elliott Broidy poses for a photo at an event in New York. (AP Photo/David Karp, File)
Trump’s pardon largesse a boon for well-connected fraudsters

Trump’s pardon largesse a boon for well-connected fraudsters

Most Read