The Swan River Junior Girls Basketball team travelled to Altona from March 10-11 to participate in Provincials.
“The Tigers were the youngest team at provincials but set a goal for themselves to be in a final playoff on Saturday,” said Head Coach Lise Fraser, noting that they achieved that goal.
In their final game on Saturday, the team faced the Calvin Christian Eagles in the consolation final that resulted in a 60-50 loss for the Tigers.
“The Tigers were out-sized by the Eagles but they were up to the challenge,” said Fraser. “The Eagles had two players at the six foot height and two other players at 5'10.
“The Tigers started off strong, with Ireland Staples, Decorbea Fleury and Sabrina Kopecky sinking perimeter shots. The Eagles quickly switched defensive strategies and used a man to man defence. The game remained close, with both teams scoring when they had possession and at the half the Tigers were down by one point.
“The second half of the game remained close, but in the final two minutes, the Eagles stretched their lead to ten points,” continued Fraser. “The Tigers were not able to close the distance, which placed the Tigers as the runner-up in the Consolation Final. Adria Bateman was named Player of the Game with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Lauren Klatt had 12 points and 11 rebounds.”
In the second game of the tournament, the Tigers played against the host team, W.C. Miller Collegiate from Altona, in a tight game that resulted in a 50-43 win for the Tigers.
“The gymnasium was packed with students from the collegiate, cheering on their home team,” said Fraser.
“The Tigers maintained a lead throughout the game, but it never seemed to be enough. Altona utilized an aggressive press and would chip away at the lead but the Tigers would then score a timely basket to restore some breathing space.
“The Tigers were up by ten points with 90 seconds left in the game when Altona stole the ball to cut the lead to eight. They then stole the ball again and scored which reduced the Tigers lead to six,” continued Fraser.
If you can imagine the intensity in the packed gymnasium in this close game away from home, you can see why Coach Fraser called a timeout to give the Tigers a moment to regroup before continuing with the game.
“Fleury scored on the next play and was fouled,” said Fraser. “She cooly made her foul shot, despite the crowd noise, which increased the Tiger lead to nine. Altona scored on their next possession and the clock ran out. The Tigers had won which placed them in the Consolation Finals on Saturday.”
“Fleury scored 17 points in the game and was named the Player of the Game for the Tigers,” said Fraser. “Brenna Schure scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Bateman scored nine points. Defensively, the Tiger press of Fleury, Kopecky, Staples and Alison Rowe created turnovers which prevented Altona from overtaking the Tigers.
“This was a good character win for the Tigers as it is extremely difficult for a team to win a playoff game against a host team.”
In their first game of the tournament, the Tigers played against St. John's Ravenscourt which resulted in a 52-47 loss for the Tigers.
“Ravenscourt had a 6'1" player who presented a challenge for the Tigers,” said Fraser. “The posts were tasked with limiting the Ravenscourt player's offensive ability. Bateman pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the defensive core.
“The game was close throughout, each team pressed hard as a win meant advancing to the Championship side of the draw.”
Fraser noted that Adria Bateman scored 10 points, Kopecky scored nine, and Fleury scored eight. Defensively Klatt and Sydney Fleming made five rebounds and two steals each and Kopecky was named the Player of the Game.
“The Tigers had a great season,” said Fraser. “The team has already set a goal for next year to return to Provincials and come home with a medal.”
The team expressed appreciation to those who supported them by travelling to the Provincials to cheer for the team.
The Junior boys team also travelled to Provincials this past weekend. A full story on their results will be available in next week’s Star and Times.