By Woodard, Dale on February 3, 2020.
The LCI Clippers just needed to have a little bit of faith.
They did, and now they’ve claimed their home tournament following a 78-63 win over the Magrath Pandas in the gold medal game of the LCI Green and Gold Tournament Saturday night at LCI.
Trailing 37-29 at the half, a third-quarter surge pushed the Clippers into a 42-39 lead and a 54-47 lead after the third quarter.
Magrath closed the deficit to 63-60 with 3:53 to go, but the Clippers went back up by 10 with 1:47 to go on a couple baskets and fouls from Maddi Boehme to clinch the Clippers victory in their home gym.
“We wanted to make a statement coming into this tournament,” said Clipper head coach Shawn Heggie. “We’ve had some ups and down this year. So we came out in the first half and the shots weren’t falling at the start. So we told the girls to trust the systems and trust their teammates and play as a team and things will start to come together. We told them to keep shooting and they’ll start dropping. They started trusting each other and themselves and things turned around.”
Down the stretch, Boehme drew a few hoops and harms. The Grade 12 Clippers veteran was named the tournament MVP.
“I had four fouls, so I had to trust my teammates. We did that as a team and it just came together,” said Boehme, who had a 12-point night. “I think we noticed we needed to stop pushing and just start trusting each other more and we started getting it done.”
Heggie said a few tweaks on defence were the only changes made going into the second half.
“We like to play a lot of zone defence. So we challenged the girls to come out and play some man-to-man defence and they all stepped up to that challenge. All of these girls have a lot of heart, every single one of them. You know they’re going to give it everything them have. The shots don’t always fall, but I know after every game they’re going to give it everything they’ve got.”
Presley Heggie led the Clippers with 19 points, while Kennedy Tanner added 17 and Darby Scott hit for 13.
For the Pandas, Hattie Ogden – who topped all tournament scorers – led the way with 22 points. Emily Hall chipped with 11.
“I’ve been really impressed with Magrath, especially over the past few weeks,” said Heggie. “They had a big win over Raymond (Comets) a week ago and they’ve been playing really well. They have Lucy Wilde back and she makes a big difference. She was a league all-star last year and is just an excellent player. It’s good to see her back on the court and they’ll only get stronger as the season goes on and as she gets more minutes. They’ve been playing solid and they’re a totally different team than what I thought at the start of season until now. Brad (Karren) is a good coach and he knows what he’s doing. So they’re going to be tough in Zones.”
Before that, the Clippers and Pandas will cross paths a few more times.
“The funny thing with Magrath is they’re in the same tournament we are in Calgary next weekend and we play them the next week (after) in league,” said Heggie. “Then we’re in the Magrath tournament on the same side of the draw.”
“We could see Magrath three more times in the next two weeks. So it could be a fun match up for the next few weeks.”
The Clippers and Comets are tied atop the Southern Alberta High School Basketball League standings at 7-1.
The Pandas are two points behind at 6-3.
“We’ve talked the whole season about how we don’t know to peak too early,” said Heggie. “Our goal is we want to peak at zones and provincials. The struggles at the start of the year is good team building. You have to forget about those. Obviously, Raymond is a challenge in the south and they’ve got an excellent team. The girls are happy we get another shot at them in league before we got with zones.”
In her Grade 12 year, Boehme is enjoying the race.
“It’s so fun. I love the competition. Even though it’s tricky sometimes it helps our team come together and work harder.”
In the bronze medal game, the Salisbury Composite High School Sabres defeated the Catholic Central Cougars 74-52.
Leading the Cougars was Aimee Baron with 18 points, while Gracyn Hay scored 13.
Jillian Wood had 21 points for the Sabres.
Heggie and Ogden were named as Tournament All-Stars. Joining them was Courtney Bennett (Salisbury), Piper Dabbelsteyn (Strathcona) and Baron.
Ogden’s 58 on the weekend led the tournament. Bennett was second with 52 and Baron had 49.
Heggie led the Clippers with 47 points, good for fourth in the tournament.
Ogden was also the top shooter from beyond the with 10 three-pointers during the weekend. Hall had seven and Heggie drained five.
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