BOW VALLEY – Local senior boys basketball teams struck gold and silver over the weekend.
The Canmore Wolverines were golden at the George McDougall High School tournament in Airdrie, Alta., defeating the Olds Spartans 77-64 in Saturday's (Feb. 8) final.
In the Rockies, the Our Lady of the Snows (OLS) Avalanche won silver in its inaugural Winter Invitational after losing 92-78 against the St. Joseph Crusaders of Brooks, Alta.
Avalanche forward Justin Hughes scored a team-high 25 points and Corey Banks added 16 in the high-scoring affair.
“St. Joes is a provincially ranked team so it’s good to have them in the final and challenge them that way,” said Avalanche head coach Steven Ples.
Ples added he was pleased with his team's intensity, which gave the opposing Crusaders fits throughout the game and nearly caused the eighth ranked 2A team to collapse in the fourth.
After trailing 72-56 after three, the gritty Avalanche refused to go away quietly and fought back to make it a six-point game with five minutes on the ticker.
The hot-handed Hughes drained back-to-back triples to force the Crusaders to call time and talk it over. But, just when an upset was looking probable, the Crusaders showed why they are among the top teams in Alberta and buried the Avalanche with precision outside shooting.
After the game, OLS guard Banks wasn't deterred and said it gave the boys confidence to challenge the top team.
“We had that mentality to just give it our all and try to come out victorious,” said Banks. “It didn’t go quite as planned, but we all put in 100 per cent.”
Ples is a former coach and teacher to the Crusaders and knows firsthand of their skillset. He liked what he saw from his players though and said they stepped up and played to the level of the stronger team and gained valuable experience before zones in March.
“We have one month left until zones, we’ll probably have to play a play-in game to get in there, but that’s what we’ll be ready for and the guys are ready to go,” said Ples.
The Banff Community High School Bears lost 76-43 in the bronze game at the Winter Invitational to the Holy Cross Hawks of Strathmore, Alta.
Bears guard Jaden Samson scored a team-high 12 points and Logan House had nine.
In a second half to forget, the Bears trailed by four points after the second, but were outscored 48-19 by the soaring Hawks in the third and fourth quarters.