Seventh heaven for Falcons boys
Basbetball: Foothills defeats rival HTA 77-44 to extend league title run to seven
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 11:38 pm
The Foothills Falcons added another chapter to their expanding dynasty in Senior boys high school basketball.
The Falcons captured their seventh consecutive Foothills Athletic Council (FAC) title by dispatching the overmatched Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) Knights 77-44 in the league championship Saturday night at the Falcons gym.
“Obviously we want to win our league, it’s not our focal point, but it’s one of those stepping stones to where we want to go to,” said Falcons head coach Amron Gwilliam. “It’s a good win. The boys played hard for the most part and executed enough to get the win today.”
The Falcons coach attributed the run of league championships to the blood, sweat and tears put in by his players all season long.
“Each year we get great groups of kids who come in and work hard all year,” Gwilliam said. “This is a testament for their hard work, for the hours they put in coming in before school and shooting and lifting weights and after school shooting and working on their game.
“It’s really a kudos to the effort that them and a lot of their older siblings and guys carrying this legacy of year after year making sure we compete at a high level.”
The Falcons set the tone from the opening tip in the final on consecutive three-pointers from Hunter Karl and easy lay-ups from Taner Parrington. After building a modest 16-8 lead after 10 minutes, Foothills took control with a dominant second quarter outscoring HTA by a staggering 28-6 margin.
“The last couple weeks we’ve been falling short to some teams so it was just being hungry,” Karl said. “We came out like we wanted it, we played with urgency and went out and we took what was ours.”
A relentless Falcons’ defence in the first half held the Knights to just 14 points, including a six-point second quarter. Foothills carried a commanding 44-14 lead at half.
“We had a lot of talking. We were playing fast and reading everything,” Karl said. “We were pretty much like vultures. We waited until the ball came and once the ball came everybody attacked. We didn’t play man, we played want the ball. And that’s the way we have to play every game.”
Parrington led the Falcons with 32 points and 11 boards while Karl added 15 points and six assists and Taylor Armsworthy mopped up with four steals and 10 rebounds.
Knights head coach Sam Aiello was less than pleased with the first half performance of his team, but commended his players for a resilient second half in which they were outscored just 33-30.
“Foothills is a talented team, they’re deep and they can expose your weaknesses,” Aiello said. “I’m just glad we had a better second half to make the game a little more competitive.”
The Knights more than doubled their first half output by pouring in 30 points in the final 20 minutes after Aiello challenged his players at halftime to rise to the occasion.
“We told our guys that we thought we played like a Junior high team in the second quarter that we need to come out and play like a Senior high team,” Aiello said. “That we need to be a little tougher and I just thought we were a little more aggressive attacking the basket and we offensive rebounded better.”
Knights post Nick Peloso and Grade 10 point guard Dylan Wheeler tied for the team lead with 10 points each, while Matt Vant Erve chipped in with nine points for HTA.
The Knights have not won the league title since 2006 and have felt firsthand the hammer the Falcons have shown over the past seven championship seasons.
Aiello said his players need to overcome the mental hurdle of challenging the prolific Falcons.
“They’re not in awe of them, but we’ve lost some games to them over the years and I just think it’s a belief thing,” Aiello said. “You’ve got to want to believe that you can compete with a team and sometimes I’m not sure if they do because they’ve lost to them and we’ve been in a little bit of a rut with them over the past few years.”
HTA won’t see the Falcons again this season, but will be back on the hard-court tonight, March 6, in Airdrie for their first game of the 3A South Central Zone tournament against the George McDougall Mustangs. The tournament then switches to Highwood High in High River on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Falcons begin their quest for the 4A South Central Zone title tonight, March 6, on home court when the Bert Church Chargers pay a visit to the Foothills gym at 7 p.m. The Brooks Buffaloes then travel to Okotoks to square off with the Falcons on Friday at 7 p.m. The team with the best record of the three in the round-robin tournament will advance to the 4A provincials, March 14-16 in Calgary.