Injured Knights fight off Vikes
Basketball: Holy Trinity wins bronze medal at High River
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
The Knights of the Round Table didn’t give up if Sir Lancelot went down with an injury and neither did the Holy Trinity Academy Knights when one of their leaders went down in the third-place game of the Sandie Bexson Memorial Senior Girls Basketball tournament Feb. 2 in High River.
The Knights outlasted the Crescent Heights Vikings 46-36 in the bronze medal game, despite Holy Trinity Academy’s (HTA) Ryan Kennedy being hit in the lip with an errant elbow and having to leave the game early in the first half to get stitches. As well, one of the Knights’ sparkplugs, Charissa Hielema, missed the tournament with an injured knee.
“We had some girls step up for sure,” Knights coach Ashley Herzog said. “(Ryan) brings the ball up for us so we had Kylie (Pozniak) bring it up for us. When they started to pressure Kylie we had other players bring up the ball as well.”
With one of their top scorers out, the Knights turned to tenacious defence. It worked. Despite shooting colder than a windy day in Winnipeg, the Knights had a narrow 19-16 lead at halftime.
HTA’s offence would pick up in the second half as they jumped out to a 25-18 lead only to see the Vikes rattle off seven straight points to tie the game at 25-25. The resilient Knights battled back to take a 35-30 early into the fourth quarter. When the Vikings’ Delaney Haugen hit a jump shot to give Crescent Heights a 36-35 lead with about five minutes remaining, the wind seemed to go out of the Knights’ sails.
Looks can be deceiving.
“I don’t think we ever gave up on ourselves or that we had lost any momentum,” Pozniak said. “It’s hard to stay positive, but I think that is what pulled us through after that moment.”
The Knights’ Jenna Lorenz then provided some positive vibrations.
Lorenz took a perfect feed from teammate Claire Thorimbert and went up for a lay-up to put HTA up for good at 37-36. The Knights would keep the Vikings off the scoreboard for the final five minutes.
Lorenz was one of the Knights who had to step up due to the Kennedy injury.
“I was thrown into a new position because Ryan was gone,” said Lorenz, who finished with six points and was named the Knights’ MVP in the victory. “I just focused on what we had learned in practice and concentrated on my defence.”
The Knights were missing another leader for much of the final 10 minutes. Pozniak had missed a large part of the fourth quarter because she had four fouls.
However, with the game on the line she came back in and she ended up putting the game away from the line.
The Grade 12 student made seven consecutive free throws down the stretch to cap off the 10-point victory.
Pozniak said she didn’t let having the game on the line get to her when she stepped to the charity stripe.
“I think I shoot better under pressure — I just try to treat it like any other foul shot,” said Pozniak, who finished with 17 points.
The Knights opened the tournament on Friday afternoon with a 56-44 victory over the Mount Baker Wild.
Pozniak led the Knights with 20 points and Kennedy had 13.
However, there was no rest for the victors.
The Knights had about an hour to rest before playing the Winston Churchill Bulldogs from Lethbridge. The Bulldogs, the ninth-ranked 3A team in the province, were playing their first game of the tournament.
The Knights suffered a Super Bowl like energy outage as the Bulldogs romped to a 74-51 victory.
Beating the Bulldogs would have been tough even if the Knights weren’t pooped.
“We were tired for sure, but they were a fast, strong team,” Pozniak said.
“I think even if they had been playing their second game too, they would have been fast. It’s good to play those kind of teams, because that’s how you learn.”
Kennedy is expected to play this week, but Hielema is still day-to-day.
The Knights, who were ranked eighth in the 3A rankings released earlier this month, are playing in the Rundle College Cobras tournament this weekend.
In league play the Knights beat the Highwood Mustangs 47-32 on Feb. 4 to improve their record to 3-2 in the Foothills Athletic Council.