By Woodard, Dale on December 16, 2019.
The Magrath Pandas girls basketball team was feeling a bit under the weather over the past week.
However, it didn’t prevent them from a tournament title after capturing the Catholic Central Cal O’Brien Classic Girls Basketball Tournament last weekend.
Facing the host Catholic Central Cougars in the gold medal game Saturday night at the Catholic Central West campus, the Pandas posted a 73-38 victory to take home this year’s hardware.
Still, they were nursing themselves back to health as they did so.
“We’ve had a lot girls sick,” said Pandas head coach Brad Karren. “So we had about seven or eight kids, total. So we were getting a little more healthy as the week went on and in the last game I could see they had a bit more wind so they could get out and run.”
In Saturday’s gold medal game, Macie Wocknitz led the Pandas with 18 points and Carly Blackmore added 13. Emily Hall also hit double digits with 10.
“It was good. We’re all starting to come back from getting sick, but we’re starting to get healthy,” said Hall, a Grade 11 student.
Aimee Baron replied with 12 points for the Cougars and Gracyn Hay added 10.
The tournament title comes after a 2-0 start to the Southern Alberta High School Basketball League that has the Pandas tied with the Raymond Comets, LCI Clippers and Medicine Hat Kwahommies.
If they want to maintain the pace, Karren said the teams’ defence won’t be able to rest.
“We’re not a big school and we don’t have a lot of kids and we have a lot of Grade 10s. So we have to really focus on our defence and that’s what we try to do. We’re getting there. We’re not there yet, as a coach they’re never quite where you want them to be, but they’re coming. With each game I’ve seen a bit of improvement, which is nice.
“As long as we play good defence, we’ll be competitive.”
Hall comes to the Pandas from LCI.
“I moved here this year. They lost about six really good Grade 12s, so we’ve had to fill that void.”
“But we have about five Grade 12s now and a couple of Grade 11s and Grade 10s. So we’ve got a good mix.”
And they haven’t even gotten their best player back yet with Lucy Wilde nursing a rugby injury.
“She’s an all-star and she could be the best player in the league,” said Karren. “So she’s on the mend and hopefully we get her back here in a bit and get some leadership, because we’re young and we haven’t quite found that person yet who is going to take charge and run everything.”
In the junior varsity game, Medicine Hat High School beat Catholic Central 80-30.
Leading the Cougars was Avorie Henderson with seven points, while Nicole Gray and Mackenzie Schindeler each had six.
Medicine Hat’s Whitney Parker topped her team with 16 points and Raya Grover had 14. Abby Watson put up 12 points for Medicine Hat and Hayley Heidinger contributed with 10.
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