Falcons exact revenge to earn provincial berth
Basketball: Foothills wins South Central Zone title in a sweep
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 06:00 am
The Foothills Falcons let their opponent hang around before putting an exclamation point on a provincial berth for the first time since 2011.
Foothills cruised to a 94-60 win over the Brooks Buffalos to secure the 4A boys South Central Zone championship, Friday night at the Foothills gym to advance to the 4A provincials this week in Calgary.
“We did what we needed to do, we came out with the win and now we’re able to go to provincials which was our goal all year long,” said Falcons head coach Amron Gwilliam. “Now we’re looking forward to that.”
Falcons guards Jamie Derochie and Hunter Karl took early control of the game, forcing turnovers and converting on easy baskets in transition to stake Foothills to a 31-21 lead after 10 minutes of play.
The second quarter saw the Falcons’ depth on display, with Matt Lloyd showing great athleticism in leaping for a steal and stepping up to bury a shot from three-point range just seconds later.
The highlight reel plays were mired at times by uncharacteristic sloppiness in ball distribution and inconsistent transition defence from Foothills.
Gwilliam said manufacturing urgency in the midst of a lopsided contest in which Foothills was comfortably ahead all game was a tall order for the coaching staff.
“We had probably a two-minute spurt here, a three-minute spurt there and when we did that we were able to put points on the board and get stops,” Gwilliam said. “But then we would play lazy and lackadaisical and weren’t in it mentally so that made it difficult for us to extend that lead.”
Down just 68-55, the Buffalos hung around through three quarters on the strength of the sharpshooting Justin Ngam and easy baskets in transition from fleet-footed guard Cody Latrace.
Foothills put the game further out of reach with a dominant fourth quarter in which the hosts outscored Brooks 26-5.
“We went away from some of the adjustments we made at halftime to make it a little closer in the third,” said Brooks head coach Paul Cashato. “They started causing some more turnovers again and it helped get them some easy looks in transition and not allow us to push the ball up the floor and get into our offence.”
Taner Parrington saved his best for the final 10 minutes and was a man-possessed at times for the Falcons, highlighted by picking up eight straight points and later four offensive rebounds on the same possession.
Falcons’ Senior Seichi Kyle then hit consecutive three-pointers from the left corner to put the finishing touches on the 34-point victory.
“We finally played defence,” Gwilliam said of the fourth quarter swell. “We contested shots, we didn’t reach, we didn’t hack, we put pressure on the dribbler and did the little things.”
Derochie led all scorers with a 21-point performance and added seven steals and seven assists. Parrington finished with 20 points and 12 boards and Karl recorded 18 points and seven rebounds.
In their zone tournament opener, the Falcons crushed the Bert Church Chargers 114-78 on March 6, and, in doing so, exacted a measure of revenge on the Airdrie school.
The upstart Chargers shocked the Falcons at the 2012 zone tournament, edging Foothills 98-96 in overtime and ousting the Okotoks school from moving on to provincials.
The Falcons didn’t forget.
“It’s good to get the targets off our backs and it was nice to get that win,” said Falcons forward Taylor Armsworthy. “We outworked them and played really well defensively.”
Foothills’ triangle offence took charge against Bert Church. Parrington and Karl potted 22 points each, with the latter adding nine rebounds and eight assists. Derochie just missed out on a triple-double, registering 21 points, 10 steals and seven dishes.
“It’s exciting to go to provincials this year because last year was kind of heartbreaking, you know, losing in overtime and not being able to go,” Armsworthy said. “It’s good to go this year as a Senior and go in with a really good team.”
The Falcons are ranked 13th heading into provincials and will be pooled against Bishop Grandin at the provincial championships, hosted at several high schools in Calgary from March 14-16.
Foothills will be looking to improve on its 10th place finish at the 2011 provincials in Edmonton.
To keep up to date with the latest schedules and results go to provincials.asaa.ca
It is wait until next year for the young Foothills Falcons Senior Girls basketball team.
The injury bug and a stampede of sharp shooting from the George McDougall Mustangs ended the Falcons season Friday night in Airdrie.
The Mustangs downed Foothills 69-54 to sweep the best of three games 4A South Central final 2-0.
“We had a lot of injuries the last two weeks,” Falcons coach Lana Gwilliam said.
The Falcons went into Friday night game with their Twin Towers, Maddi and Kalli Turbach, hobbled or out all together.
“Kalli dressed but her minutes were limited and Maddi didn’t play at all,” Gwilliam said.
However, what really hurt the Falcons was a home-crowd advantage and Mustangs hitting threes from all over the George Mac gym.
“It was a close game and they (George Mac) live and die by the three and the press,” Gwilliam said. “We handled the press really well, but they would come down the court and jack up some threes and that put the wind out of our sails.
“They were playing at home and that can make a 10-point different sometimes.”
The Falcons were unable to take advantage of the home court advantage as they lost Game 1 68-56 on March 6 at Falcons Gym in Okotoks.
“For some reason we just came out flat,” Gwilliam said.
Although Gwilliam is disappointed the season ended without a trip to provincials, she is optimistic about the future.
The Falcons have a roster full of Grade 11 players — they don’t lose one player to graduation and all of them could be back next year.
“It has been an up-and-down season,” Gwilliam said. “There were times when we battled against some of the top teams in the province and others when we didn’t play well.
“We are a young team and I am looking forward to next year.”