By Woodard, Dale on March 20, 2017.
The Immanuel Christian Eagles girls basketball team has taken flight to the provincial gold medal once again.
Facing a familiar foe in the gold medal game of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association basketball provincial championships Saturday night in Three Hills, the Eagles defeated La Crete Public School Lancers 61-55 to capture the 2017 provincial banner.
The Eagles have now played in eight of the last 10 2A Girls Provincial Championship Gold Medal games, winning six provincial titles since 2008.
On Saturday, the Eagles found their game faces and have the provincial banner to show for it.
“It was a hard fought game,” said Eagles head coach Scott Forster. “Both teams play a gritty style and I think the difference in the gold medal was our girls out-gritted their opponents. They had that look in their eyes.”
Still, it was a somewhat shaky start to begin the weekend as the Eagles kicked off provincials against the David Thompson High Voyageurs from Clearwater County.
With memories of last year’s first-round loss in Picture Butte still lingering, the Eagles overcame some nerves to post a 65-47 win.
That set up a semifinal against the Pigeon Lake Regional Panthers, a team the Eagles had split with this season.
Trailing by 10 with three minutes remaining, the Eagles called a timeout, put in a full court zone press and rallied for the win as Grade 12 forward Catherine Wever drained 22 points and Brittany Veldman dominated on defence in a 69-66 win.
“In the semifinal game they started a little better, but by the third quarter they had their game face on and in the fourth we outscored them 24-10. We overcame a 10-point deficit in the last three minutes to win it,” said Forster. “But by then they had their game faces on and in the gold medal game they were gritty and ready to play. It was a pleasure to be a part of.”
It’s also the Eagles sixth provincial crown in the past nine years.
“I think in a school like ours it’s about basketball people being involved,” said Forster. “Our athletic director is Matthew Bekkering and he’s a basketball guy. Before him it was Duane Konynenbelt and he’s a basketball guy. It’s important to us and we work hard trying to make sure we’re living up to standard. We have a standard and we want to maintain this.”
The other South Zone 2A representative, the Coaldale Kate Andrews Pride, were defeated 71-46 by the Prairie Christian Academy Sabres Thursday afternoon.
But the Pride came back Friday with a win, defeating Assumption Jr/Sr High 57-47 Friday before beating the Fort Saskatchewan John Paul II High Patriots 77-45 to take ninth place.
At the 1A girls championship in Bawlf, the Stirling Lakers battled their way to the gold medal game, but were topped 68-59 by the Edmonton Parkland Immanuel Christian Penguins to take home the silver medal.
The Lakers – the South Zone champions -started the weekend with a 75-58 win over the Hines Creek Composite Tigers Friday morning and then followed that up with an 87-57 decision over the Olds Koinonia Christian School Royals in the semifinals Friday night.
In the gold medal game, Amy Mazutinec led the Lakers with 30 points and Savannah McKee scored 13.
The other South Zone representative, the Milk River Erle Rivers Novas, captured fifth place with a 62-51 win over the Rosemary School Rockets Saturday afternoon.
The Novas were defeated 83-65 by Olds Koinonia Christian School Friday morning, but topped Hines Creek 77-65 Saturday morning to advance to the fifth place game.
In the fifth-place game, Mackenzie Murphy led the Novas with 19 points. Sydney Hacke and Robin Stelten scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.
At the 1A boys provincials at Rundle in College in Calgary, the Bow Island Senator Gershaw Gators won the silver medal.
The Gators advanced to the gold medal game, but were downed by Hay Lakes High.
Justin Serfas had 29 points for the Gators in the gold medal game.
The Gators started the weeked with a 68-58 win over Rundle Academy Friday and beat the Pincher Creek Dragons 58-51 in the semifinal to advance to the gold medal game.
The 1A boys bronze medal game was an all-South Zone affair as the Lundbreck Livingstone Sabres downed the Pincher Creek St. Michaels Dragons 75-51.
The Sabres started the weekend with a 63-52 win over Olds Koinonia Christian School, but were edged 66-63 by the eventual gold medalist Hay Lakes High in the semifinal Friday night.
The Dragons kicked off their provincial run Friday afternoon with a 59-54 win over Forestburg High, but were downed by the Gators in the semifinal.
In the bronze medal game, Ty Anctil led the Sabres with 29 points and Brady Douglas hit for 14. Jonathan Erickson chipped in for 11 points for Livingstone.
Mitchell Zoratti led St. Michael’s with 25 points and Calvin Cooley had 15.
At the 2A championship in Edson, the South Zone representative Claresholm Willow Creek Cobras started their provincial run with a 75-61 win over the Peace River Glenmary School SaintsThursday afternoon, but fell 87-74 to the Cold Lake Assumption Jr/Sr High Crusaders in their second game Friday.
But the Cobras won their final two games of the weekend, starting with a 65-54 over the Rimbey Jr/Sr High Spartans to advance to the fifth-place game.
Willow Creek then captured fifth at this year’s provincials courtesy a 71-60 win over the Calgary Christian High School Cougars.
3A girls and boys
At the 3A girls provincials in Medicine Hat, the Taber W.R. Myers Rebels took second place and the silver medal following a 46-41 loss to Medicine Hat Monsignor McCoy High.
The Rebels defeated the Magrath Pandas 61-45 in the semifinals Friday night to advance to the championship game.
In the all South-Zone semifinal, Natalie Hoyt led the Rebels with 14 points, while Millay Johnson and Kitawna Sparks each had 13.
For the Pandas, Lauren Payne led the way with 19 points. Bethany Dow chipped in with 13 for Magrath.
Taber started the weekend with a 76-54 win over Bowness Friday morning.
Magrath started the weekend with a 68-21 win over the Grande Prairie Peace Wapiti Academy Titans Thursday and moved to 2-0 on the weekend with a 60-35 win over the Edmonton Christian Lions.
In the bronze medal game, the Zeniths dropped a close 65-63 decision to Wetaskiwin Composite Sabres.
On the boys side, the W.R. Myers Rebels boys placed sixth.
The Rebels started with an 87-75 win over the St. Albert Catholic High Skyhawks Thursday afternoon, but lost 87-42 to the Camrose Composite Trojans Friday morning.
In their third game of the weekend, W.R. Myers defeated the Morinville Community High Wolves 86-48, but lost 98-92 in the fifth place game to the St. Joseph Catholic Celtics.
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