Saints win back-to-back hoops titles

The St. Andrew’s Saints won their second straight Smoky River Junior High School Basketball League title Feb. 23. In the front row, left-right, are Joseah Pecpec, Kelly Cox, Elle MacIntosh, Ella Deering, Jessica Gordon, and Mischa Deering. In the back row, left-right, are Abbie Cottingham, Jessie Zuniga, Sage Keay, Heidi Porisky, Brooke Gauchier, Finn Marko, and head coach Christian Collett. It was the second straight title for the Saints, and third in four years. The team poses with the Darrell Willier Trophy for winning the league, plus the High Prairie School Division trophy, which they also won.

Falcons win first title for Slave lake based team in league history

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

There were no surprises as the top seeds won the girl’s and boy’s titles at the Smoky River Junior High School Basketball League tournament Feb. 22-23 in High Prairie.

The St. Andrew’s Saints won their second straight title after defeating Prairie River 56-24 in the final. The Slave Lake St. Francis Falcons won the boy’s title after defeating PRJH 80-70. For the Falcons, it was the first-ever win for a Slave Lake based team in the 22-year history of the league.

All gamesheets were not available but leading to the final PRJH defeated Gift Lake 38-22. Kinuso tripped Donnelly G.P. Vanier 40-14 while St. Andrew’s whipped Kinso 66-12.

In the final, St. Andrew’s defeated PRJH 56-24. As they did all season, the Saints stormed out to a quick lead as they led 16-2 after one quarter. They increased the margin to 33-8 at the half and 49-12 after three quarters.

Three Saints scored in double figures, led by Abbie Cottingham’s 15 points. Ella Deering and Elle MacIntosh each added 12, Jessie Zaniga six, Brooke Gauchier five and Finn Marko four.

Rachele Lemay scored 16 of PRJH’s 24 points. Amira Sharkawi and Cassidy Barry each netted four points to complete the scoring.

The Falcons won the title after defeating Kinuso 77-56 in their first game. They then tripped PRJH 88-66 to advance to the final and watched PRJH come back through the B Side to set up the rematch. The Falcons claimed the title with an 80-70 victory.

PRJH led the final 36-32 at the half. However, the Falcons went on a 16-6 run to start the third quarter to take the lead 48-42 and never looked back. PRJH did close the gap to four points after three quarters but that was as close as they got as the Falcons slowly but surely asserted their dominance.

Three Falcons did most of the damage topping 20 points.

Darren Trumbano scored 26, Jack Albrecht 22 and Zeon Sanje 21 while a fourth player, Aliyah Malaca, also scored in double figures with 10. Ezekiel Balbuena added the other two points.

Dave Espina led PRJH with 31 points while Monde Lascuna added 17 and Ethan Lalonde 12. Ryan Martin scored six points, while Aaron Mindel and Leon Palisoc each scored two.

In the earlier game, Zanje scored 39 while Trumbano scored 27 to account for most of the damage.

Espina scored 21 to lead PRJH while Lascuna added 19.

In earlier games, PRJH defeated St. Andrew’s twice by almost identical scored. PRJH won 63-54 and 61-54.

In earlier action, the Saints did manage a 41-19 win over Donnelly G.P. Vanier and a hard-fought 51-47 win over Kinuso.

Nine different Saints scored in the won over GPV, led by Jace Supernault’s 10 points. Seb Vasquez and Ethan Smith both added eight.

Brett Heckbert scored 15 of GPV’s 19 points.

Against Kinuso, the Saints were led by Smith’s 19 points while Clarence Lindo added 10 and Vasquez eight.

The difference was the second quarter, where the Saints outscored Kinuso 5-0 as both teams went stone-cold. It was a stark contrast to the first quarter, which saw Kinuso take a 19-16 lead.

Kinuso’s lone win in the tournament came over GPV 45-28 as Tanner Churchill and Austin McLaughlin each scored 14 points to lead the way.

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