Hunting Hills Lightning girls down Lindsay Thurber Raiders

Lightning senior boys also knock off Raiders

Lightning 77 Raiders 51

The Hunting Hills Lightning found some scoring in a big way.

Taylor Blais and Marissa Richards led the charge for the Lightning in their Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association senior girls high school basketball season opener.

Hunting Hills dispatched its cross-city rival Lindsay Thurber Raiders in a dominant 77-51 win. Blais had a game-high 32 points in the victory, while Richards chipped in 18.

“They had a complete game. A few lulls but they came back it was awesome,” Lightning head coach Jill de Jonge said.

“In the past, we’ve had trouble scoring. So, it was a nice addition in Taylor Blais, she’s a beautiful scorer. Marissa (Richards) played provincial ball all summer and she’s so dynamic from the wing, it’s nice to have her, too. My posts are just little grinders, we have a nice little mix.”

DeJonge said her team needs to tighten up a bit defensively, but that will come as the season progresses and focusing on their ability to score in bunches is a big plus this season.

“I loved the tenacity on defence, we clearly need to work on our help-side,” de Jonge said.

“The tenaciousness was really nice and people going for steals. We learned pretty fast that if you don’t box out, it hurts you… you take away things like that, but there’s positives like the scoring and our offence.”

For the Raiders, two games in and with a 1-1 record, there’s plenty of learning to do with a group that has an equal mix of returners and new additions.

“I’m happy with how my girls played. We have girls from six different teams, it’s going to take us a while. We were working on three little things tonight and we did a pretty good job of it,” said Raiders coach Kathy Lalor.

“For me, my girls always play hard. It takes a while to get them to a point where they play hard but in the second half (Tuesday) we were stealing the ball and getting to the hole, following up and scoring.”

Converting easy baskets was the big difference in the loss for the Raiders. Chenee Lehman had 12 points for the Raiders and Hannah Wirtanen added 10.

Long term, it’s the Lightning who have provincial aspirations but are trying to take the season game by game.

“The girls want to be zone champions and they would love to qualify for provincials. I was trying to get them to look beyond that. Right now they’re focused on being zone champions,” de Jonge said.

In senior boys play, the Lighting also knocked off the Raiders, 62-59. Pierce Shybunka led the Lightning with 18, while William Sundralingham added 14, including four three-pointers. Paul Manuel had 21 points for the Raiders and Jack Walton had 11.

In other senior girls action, the Notre Dame Cougars knocked off the Stettler Wildcats 84-25. Lauren Junck led the way with 12 points, Asha Weaver and Haley Zinger both chipped in 10. The Notre Dame Cougars senior boys won 81-63 over the Wildcats.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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