April 24th, 2024

Colts Sr basketball teams gain experience at provincials

By JAMES TUBB on March 19, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Monsignor McCoy Colts senior boys and girls basketball teams capped off successful seasons with provincials.

The Colts boys and girls teams competed at the 3A provincials tournament in Strathmore over the weekend, with the boys team finishing 10th and the girls in 11th. Both teams earned their way into the three-day tournament by winning the South zone 32 title the week prior.

Boys head coach B.J. Melle expected the 2023-24 season to be a rebuilding year for his group, featuring only three graduating players. He was happy they got three more games to their high school careers and liked the experience the younger players in the lineup received.

“Going there to gain that experience of being there and just enjoy getting the opportunity to play some different teams and play three more games than we’d have normally have had … was a good experience,” Melle said. “Hopefully that benefits us moving forward and it was a good way for a Grade 12s to end, getting the opportunity to go to provincials. I thought we had a good weekend.”

The Colts Sr. boys lost their opening match Thursday against St. Josephs, falling 89-78. They bounced back with a 75-63 win Friday over John Maland school and finished in 10th with a 65-35 loss Saturday to West Island College.

Melle says the win was important to get that feeling under their belt, but says they played their best in the loss Thursday.

“It was a tight game, we were down four going into the fourth, they were a big strong team, but we battled them hard,” Melle said. “That was an eight-nine matchup, we end up losing by about 10 points, but I thought the boys played well. They rebounded and got a win and it’s important to get a win at provincials so that you feel like your team actually belongs there.”

Moving forward with a majority of the same group next season, Melle says the experience will theoretically be a stepping stone for the them, but he says they need to put in the work to make it impactful.

“A year older doesn’t mean a year better, you have to work on your body, you have to work on your skills and come back next year, because you have to assume other kids are doing the same thing,” Melle said.

The senior girls also gained valuable experience coming out of provincials, coming by it in a challenging way. Head coach Janice Laing says one of their post players hurt their knee before the tournament and wasn’t able to get up to 100 per cent mobility. Then in their second game, their point guard blew out her ACL.

Despite the injuries, Laing says they handled the adversity well and says it will serve them well moving forward.

“As a group overall, what a great experience,” Laing said. “I’ve got eight girls coming back from that team and everybody got some experience. It’s not like we didn’t play kids, we played everybody and most of them are there because we won our way there. Our kids got some really good experience, and moving forward, that’s really all I could ask out of the provincials.”

The senior girls were perfect in league play, won zones and capped the year off with that 11th place finish. They lost their first game at provincials, falling 80-26 to St. Albert Catholic Thursday. After a 52-39 loss to Holy Rosary on Friday they bounced back with a 55-41 win over Peace Wapiti on Saturday.

Laing says they likely miss-seeded the St. Albert team, who finished third in the tournament, but says they learned a lot from that game. When putting the year as a whole and their finish at provincials in perspective, Laing says they’re proud of their team and how they represented the Colts logo.

“There’s over 500 ASAA basketball teams that compete throughout the year, on this weekend there was only 102 left playing, so that’s a pretty cool thing for these kids,” Laing said. “We won the right to keep playing. When you put it in real perspective, provincials was just another tournament for us to gain experience. So I’m not disappointed at all.”

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