Raiders win 4 straight to claim title
South Peace News
They weren’t the top seed heading into the tournament, but they were the best team when it counted.
The Prairie River Raiders boy’s team won their record tenth Smoky River Junior High School Basketball League title Feb. 23-24 after going undefeated and winning four straight games in the double knockout tournament.
The Raiders opened the tournament with a 52-48 win over the Kinuso Knights, It would be the closest game they played all weekend. Next to fall were the Slave Lake St. Francis Falcons 62-40. The Raiders then won the semi-final 61-52 over the Donnelly G.P. Vanier Vipers, who came back through the B Event to play the Raiders for the title. They were out of gas and were no match for PRJH, who won 64-44.
In the win over Kinuso, the Knights led 12-7 after one quarter and 23-18 at the half.
However, the third quarter proved to be disastrous for the Knights, who were outscored 22-2. They did rally with a 19-point fourth quarter but fell just short.
Dave Espina led PRJH with 21 points while Kieran Larson added 15.
Ethan Wedmid scored 19 points to lead the Knights while Aspen Burger added nine. Three other players each added six points including Austin McLaughlin, Aiden McLaughlin and Hunter Wild.
Larson was up to his old tricks in the win over the Falcons. He netted 28 points in the lopsided win as the Riders raced out to a 21-12 one quarter lead and 43-28 at the half.
In the first win over the Vipers, Larson netted 19 points while Espina added 17. The Raiders enjoyed quarter leads of 17-10, 35-22, and 50-32.
The Vipers rallied in the fourth quarter by scoring 21 points but fell just short. Derek Labrecque scored a dozen points while David Rebamonte added 10.
In the final, PRJH led 31-25 at the half but pulled away in the third quarter to lead by 10 points, 48-38. They outscored the Vipers 16-6 in the fourth quarter.
Espina scored 17 points to lead the Raiders while Mondi Lascuna added 16. The Raiders received a scare in the first quarter when Larson went down with an apparent sprained and/or twisted ankle. He did return and dished the ball off the rest of the way rather than score, and ended up with four points.
David Rebamonte led GPV with 16 points. Raiden Burt added nine points and John Perez eight.
GPV’s silver medal performance was sparked by a 22-15 win over the Slave Lake Roland Michener Rams, who arrived to play with only five players due to hockey and other commitments. GPV also defeated the other Slave Lake team, the St. Francis Falcons, 44-30, and the St. Andrew’s Saints 47-30.
St. Andrew’s lost their other game, 41-39, to the Gift Lake Hurricanes. In turn, the Hurricanes lost to the Rams 38-31.
Other scores were as follows: St. Francis defeated Atikameg 34-24, St. Francis defeated RMSS 18-15 and Gift Lake 37-33, Kinuso defeated Atikameg 42-34, and RMSS defeated Kinuso 26-16.