Lightning boys zap Raiders in semifinals

Hunting Hills Lightning head coach Scott Doan was pleased with the win, but feels his team needs to improve defensively if they expect to advance to the provincial high school 4A boys’ basketball championships.

Lightning 81 Raiders 67

Hunting Hills Lightning head coach Scott Doan was pleased with the win, but feels his team needs to improve defensively if they expect to advance to the provincial high school 4A boys’ basketball championships.

“You know what coach’s are like, they get old and they’re not happy with anything,” he said following an 81-67 win over the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the zone 4A semifinals Thursday at Hunting Hills.

“I was happy with the kids, but I’m not proud of the 81-67. I have an issue with that. They (Raiders) did a great job of shooting, but I don’t like the 67.”

The Lightning held a 45-37 led at the half, which they extended to 69-53 after three-quarters.

Josh Loney played a huge role in the Lightning’s 24 point third quarter, hitting 13 of his game-high 26 points.

“He lit us up after the half,” said Raiders head coach Dwayne Lalor. “He hit us hard. We didn’t put any pressure on him and force him to move his feet.”

Doan was also pleased to see Loney get on a roll.

“The difference in the game was just after the half when we went on that little run, but then we sat on it. Josh has been in a slump for about the last three weeks, and I’m not sure he’s completely out it, but he helped us live for another day.”

The Raiders got to within nine points with over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but they struggled finding any offence after Jonah Penner fouled out.

“We got down by 20 and it’s hard to come back from that deficit with less than 20 minutes to play,” said Lalor, who wanted to shoulder the blame for the loss.

“I didn’t prepare them well enough to play this basketball game at the level we had to play it,” he said. “This is hard on the kids as we had some guys who laid it out there and gave it everything they had.

“But we came up short again . . . somewhere along the way this has to come back to structure and function.”

The Raiders do have several Grade 10s on their roster, but they also lose some key players to graduation.

“I feel for those guys as they didn’t get a chance to go to the provincials in their three years,” said Lalor.

“That’s something we need to improve on. We need to get back to the drawing board and come up with a better scheme than what I brought forth this year.”

Doan also has a young team, and felt they would be underdogs this season.

“We’re not supposed to be here, but the guys have done well.”

One of the strengths is the play of six-foot-seven Dallas Hancox, who had 18 points and several blocks.

“I haven’t had that in a big guy for some time . . . it’s nice,” said Doan.

Orrin Farries had 17 points and Joel Peterson 13 for the Lightning while Penner hit 20 and Spencer Klassen 14 for LTCHS.

The Lightning face the Notre Dame Cougars in a best-of-three zone final with the winner advancing to the provincials, March 15-17 in Raymond and Cardston.

The zone final starts Tuesday. Notre Dame has the option where it starts.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com