April 12th, 2024

Hawks Sr. boys basketball cap off South zone championship season

By JAMES TUBB on March 20, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat High School Hawks senior boys basketball season had a successful season before provincials even got underway.

The Hawks entered the 4A provincials this weekend as the No. 1 seed coming off their first South zone championship in 10 years. They won their first game at provincials, 94-66 over Grand Prairie Composite on Thursday. They then lost 95-90 to Western Canada later in the day and bounced back with a 78-70 win over Holy Trinity on Friday. A 76-74 loss Saturday to O’Leary gave them a sixth place finish.

Head coach Chad Watson says as a team they felt they underperformed in the tournament but any success at provincials would have been a cherry on top of an already successful season.

“Our goal every year is to win the South zone, that’s always been our No. 1 priority, and anything after that is just gravy,” Watson said. “That’s the way we’ve always kind of approached the season. We want to win provincials, absolutely, but for us, we’ve had an outstanding year and I don’t want to place our entire year of success onto one weekend. It would have been awesome but at the end of the day, the memories, the winning culture we’ve created here, when I look back to the entire season, it’s been so successful.”

The Hawks finish the 2023-24 basketball season with a 30-6 record and a South zone banner hanging in the rafters. Watson says the group of Grade 12s they have moving on, including his son Trey, is a special group who battled through COVID-19 at the start of their high school years and rose through the grades.

“We had kids all over the city come to our school and come together as one and build,” Watson said. “These kids are super tight, they built great relationships and I’m super grateful for every one of our graduating Grade 12 kids. One thing these guys did is they got in the gym, they put up shots, they lifted weights, and that’s just our culture in general.

“They won a lot of games, finishing second their JV year in the zone championships. A lot of them last year were on a top-15 team in Grade 11 and we’ve seen the end result of them coming together for the Grade 12 year and putting on quite a show.”

As their bus left Red Deer Saturday after provincials came to a close, Watson says he already had players texting him how excited they were to get going again next season. While there will be exams and summer in between the end of this season and the next, Watson says there’s already internal excitement growing to build off a strong season of Hawks basketball.

“They’re going to spend the offseason lifting weights and playing club ball and playing basketball in general, going to basketball camps,” Watson said. “These kids have seen what it takes to win and they know it’s not going to be easy. But because of that, they’re going to be dialled in and ready to play for a zone championship next year.”

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