June 22nd, 2024

Comets gear up for 55th annual Sugar Bowl

By Lethbridge Herald on December 23, 2022.

Herald file photo Raymond Comets Boomer Heggie looks to get through the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds defence during a past year's Sugar Bowl tournament at Raymond High School. This year’s Comets hope to contend for the championship.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The 55th annual Sugar Bowl seniors boys basketball tournament is set to tip off on Boxing Day at Raymond High School.

“We’ve been practicing since kind of  the first of December,” said Ryan Baldry, Raymond Comets senior boys head coach.

“Since football ended …  our football team kind went late into the season. They won the provincial championship this year. So we didn’t get to start basketball as soon as we wanted to. But we’ve been going really hard since Dec. 1 and we just started a few league games and we were in the Cardston tournament. And yeah, we’ve just been spending the last couple of weeks practicing and implementing offences and trying get some of our basic stuff ready for the tournament this week.”

Participating  school teams include LCI, Ross Sheppard, Cochrane, Magrath, Okotoks’ Foothills Composite, Cardston , Archbishop O’Leary and the host Comets.

“They should be good competition for us down here,” said Baldry, on Edmonton’s Ross Sheppard and O’Leary.

Baldry thinks the strength of the Sugar Bowl will be from the south this year.

“ I think Magrath certainly has a really strong team this year and Cardston’s had a good start to their season,” said Baldry.

“And then LCI and us are there as well. Certainly ,we’re hopeful that we can be there and make a run to the Sugar Bowl final this year. But certainly a lot of good teams this year.”

Baldry said it’s typically a strong draw and lots of good basketball to watch.

“We’re certainly hopeful to contend for the championship,” said Baldry.

“I think that’s kind of part of being a Raymond Comet and part of our tradition, is that you always believe that you’re there and certainly this year we have a good team. I wouldn’t say we’ve come out with a real strong start to the season but we steadily improved as December went along ,and I think we’re coming into our own and I think we’ll compete for that Sugar Bowl championship.”

The Comets last won the Sugar Bowl in 2019.

“The Sugar Bowl, it’s kind of put Raymond on the map for a little bit,” said Baldry.

“It’s attracted some of the best teams in the province over those years and we put tickets for sale on Dec. 1 and they were sold out by noon. So there’s just a lot of demand to get here and to be part of the Sugar Bowl, and there’s always a good environment with lots of fans cheering and it’s just a fun tournament to play in as kids.”

The Comets first game will be at 8 p.m. on Boxing Day against Cochrane.

The final will be at 8 p.m. on Dec. 27.

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