Raiders miss chance at three-peat

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February 10, 2015 9:16 AM

The Holy Rosary Raiders senior girls' basketball team has appeared in the final of the Hugh Morrell Border Classic for the past three years, missing out this season on third straight championship with a loss to the Carnport Cougars in the finals at E.S. Laird. - Andrew Brethauer Photo

With a third straight Hugh Morrell Border Classic basketball tournament championship in their sights, the Holy Rosary senior girl’s team simply, ran out of gas.

Two victories got the Raiders to the finals for the third straight year, and it seemed with a 35-28 lead over the Caronport Cougars at the half that the Raiders were destined for a three-peat of the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School annual basketball tournament.

However, with injuries leaving the Raiders with a short bench, the girl’s were exhausted after two days of basketball, and were outscored 35-17 in the final half for a 63-52 loss, earning them the runner-up honours this year.

“Honestly, we just ran out of gas,” said Raiders head coach Aubrey Patterson. “The kids played really well and really hard, but we picked up a couple injuries early in the tournament and were down a couple bodies. We played against a team that was a little deeper than us tonight and it showed.”

Alyssa Banez lead the Raider scoring with 18 points in the first half, but was slowed down to just five in the second half, as the Raiders scored just 10 in the third quarter and seven in the fourth. Banez, and some of the Raiders starters were on the court for the duration of the half, leading to tired players who didn’t have the same jump as they did in the first half.

Three-point shots didn’t fall in the second half, and the transition to defence was ultimately slower, due to the lack of depth on the bench.

“When you get tired the ball stops moving as quickly and the hands drop, and that is really what started to happen to us in the third quarter,” said Patterson.

“We fought back, but it was a little bit to little, to late.”

Emily Koshinsky lead the Cougars with 19 points, while Leah Hundeby contributed 15 points in the Caronport victory.

Caronport is a 3A high school out of Saskatchewan that is expected to be ranked either first or second in the province by the end of the season.

The Raiders, on the other hand, won two tournaments this year already, and are 15-8 on the season, including the two victories and loss at the Hugh Morrell. The Raiders made their way to the final by defeating the host Lloydminster Barons 51-48 in the closest game of the tournament. They went on the defeat St. Paul in the semi-finals, earning their third straight berth in the Hugh Morrell final.

Last year the team won with relative ease, winning the final 100-15 over St. Paul, while outscoring the tournament 273-57.

This year, however, has seen a turnover from last year’s team, but the Raiders are still finding success, losing most of their matches to power house 4A schools in the province.

“It’s a very different kind of group, they work so hard,” said Patterson. “The kids this year are just a real gutsy bunch.”

Holy Rosary is off to Edmonton this weekend for a tournament before their host their own leading into zone playoffs and provincials. Despite the loss in the finals, Patterson said it is just about getting better each weekend as they head towards the playoff time of their season.

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