Lightning 51 Raiders 50
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders were expected to go into the Central zone 4A girls’ basketball final series against the Hunting Hills Lightning as the favourites.
That changed significantly during the weekend when the Raiders’ outstanding forward Telaina Snider injured her ankle playing club volleyball.
Suddenly the series was a toss-up, as indicated Tuesday in the Lightning’s 51-50 victory in the opening game of the best-of-three affair at LTCHS.
The second game goes Thursday at 6sp.m. at Hunting Hills with a third, if necessary, Friday at 6 p.m. at LTCHS.
“We still should have won that game, even with one of our key components out,” said Raiders” head coach Kathy Lalor. “We just missed too many shots. Thursday we just need to shoot better.”
With the loss of Snider the Raiders were without their leading scorer and rebounder, which may have gave the Lightning a bit of false security.
“We talked with our girls before the game about getting rid of any of those thoughts as we knew Thurber wouldn’t give up anything,” said Lightning head coach Jill de Jong. “It doesn’t matter when we play them they battle you hard and they did just that tonight. We’ve been working all year with our girls to get them to work that hard.”
Still the Lightning did a good job of taking the ball to the basket against the smaller Raiders and could have easily put the game away, but missed a number of inside shots and free throws.
“It’s all mental as it’s still high school girls,” said de Jong. “They play as hard as they want to. My posts did OK tonight, but we did run into some foul trouble.”
Still the Lightning controlled the boards for the most part, especially in the second half.
“My Grade 10 post player (Madeline Klootwyk) stepped up and pulled down some big boards,” added de Jong.
She also scored eight points while Teighan Ponto led the team with 15 points and Brittani Blake added 11. Keitlyn Williams had 18 and Trish Peter 14 for the Raiders. De Jong was pleased with the opening win, but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us Thursday,” she said.
The Raiders will have one more day to adjust their lineup without Snider, who is expected to see a surgeon on Thursday.
“We had one day to adjust before tonight and it was hard not only physically, but mentally,” said Lalor. “But I was extremely proud of the girls. I thought we played good defence and for the first half did a good job of rebounding against them. Trish (Peter) did an excellent job and was a force inside . . . she has to shoot a bit better.”