July 20th, 2024

McCoy Colts win first provincial gold in coach’s eighth finals appearance

By Ryan McCracken on March 20, 2017.

NEWS PHOTO RYAN MCCRACKEN McCoy Colts varsity girls basketball coach Janice Laing is hoisted into the air by players and parents after clinching the 3A provincial gold medal with a 46-41 victory over the WR Myers Rebels at Crescent Heights High School on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

rmccracken@medicinehatnews.com @MHNMcCracken

The wait is finally over for Janice Laing and the McCoy Colts girls varsity basketball team.

The long-standing coach finally tasted sweet victory Saturday evening at Crescent Heights High School when her team clinched the Alberta Schools Athletics Association 3A banner. McCoy has reached the provincial final eight times under Laing, and after tasting defeat seven times in a row the Colts are finally champions.

It was McCoy’s first championship in Laing’s eighth provincial final at the helm.

“I’m exhausted and I’m overwhelmed. I’m just so proud of them,” said a near-speechless Laing after her team’s 46-41 win over the WR Myers Rebels. “I’ve got nothing.”

The Colts got their chance at redemption after dropping a heartbreaker to the Rebels in both this season’s zone final and last year’s provincial championship. While they watched a 10-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter of last weekend’s zone final, this time they dug their heels firmly into the hardwood and held on in a defensively wrought final frame.

“Our girls gutted it out, oh my gosh,” said Laing. “Our defence was phenomenal. They did exactly what we talked about for a week. They did exactly what we talked about.”

While McCoy only added three points to the board in the fourth quarter, with Katelyn Rozdeba hitting a jumper and Carley Doneff adding a free throw, their defence held Myers to just eight to clinch the narrow victory.

“We were just trying to hold them at our 10 points,” said Colts guard Hannah Stark. “We just tried to contain them so we could win the game.”

Rozdeba finished with a game-high 21 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line in the second quarter, while Stark added 11.

“It just feels good to win this time, and Laing’s never gotten first so it feels great to be on this team,” said Rozdeba. “It’s a good feeling to win at home too.”

Immediately after the buzzer sounded, Stark raced to the centre of the court, lifting up a floor cover and pulling out a loonie. The Colts guard says the team decided to place it there for good luck at a Sunday shootaround, and it seems to have paid off.

“We put a lucky loonie in the floor to commemorate this experience and give us some luck,” said Stark, adding it was truly rewarding clinch a title for her coach. “It’s amazing. She’s had so many silvers and it’s great to finally bring her the gold.”

Rebels forward Kitawna Sparks finished with a team-high 13 points, including six of her team’s eight points in the fourth quarter, but the Colts did just enough to prevent them from taking back-to-back titles.

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