Ghosts spook Falcons title hopes
Basketball: Young Foothills squad turns it focus to next season
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
Seventy-five per cent might cut it for a high school final exams, but it won’t in the high school provincial basketball championships.
The Foothills Falcons made an early exit from the 4A Senior boys provincial basketball tournament in Calgary after losing to the Bishop Grandin Ghosts 77-65 Thursday and then 86-71 to the Harry Ainlay Titans on Friday at St. Francis High School.
In both losses the 13th-ranked Falcons had just one bad quarter, according to Falcons coach Amron Gwilliam.
“We were right there in terms of our talent, we just weren’t able to pull out a game where we played a full 40 minutes of consistency,” Gwilliam said.
The Falcons proved they belonged with the top teams in the province. They spooked the fourth-ranked Bishop Grandin Ghosts by taking a 38-34 half-time lead at a noisy Grandin Gym on March 14 in Calgary.
“That was probably our best half of the year — we gave Grandin a good scare,” Gwilliam said. “But we just weren’t able to maintain in the third quarter and they just pulled away.”
The Falcons’ Hunter Karl had 13 of his 19 points in the first half. Foothills point guard Jamie Derochie racked up eight of his 13 — including two long bombs from three-point land — in the opening 20 minutes.
However, in the third quarter the Ghosts found new life. Grandin outscored the Falcons 22-9 in those 10 minutes to take a 58-47 lead and they never looked back.
“Grandin is a good team and they aren’t going to fold over,” said Karl, who agreed the first half might have been their best of the season. “In the third quarter we just couldn’t keep it together. It was just the heat of the moment.”
Ghost coach Mike Henry said he wasn’t surprised the Falcons had came out hard. He said it was also a wake up call for his team.
“It didn’t surprise me at all they are a good team — they gave us a scare when we played them earlier in the year,” Henry said. “We made some adjustments in the second half. We started trapping their ball screens and we wanted to get their big guys (Taner Parrington and Taylor Armsworthy) off the boards… I also think we have more depth than Foothills and we were able to wear them down.”
He added the Ghosts tried to put more pressure on Derochie in the final 20 minutes.
“He is very talented and we did everything in our power to stop him from getting open,” he said.
Henry added they also keyed on Foothills’ “big lefty” — Taner Parrington who was held to 15 points.
Parrington certainly noticed having ghosts follow him like he was Scrooge on Christmas Eve.
“I thought we had them right up until the third quarter when they went on their run and we weren’t able to get back,” said the Grade 12 Parrington, who will play for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies next year. “I know I had a rough game — I was double and triple teamed all night.”
The Falcons’ season came to a close when they were beaten by the fifth-ranked Titans on Friday morning in Calgary.
“I think we were deflated after losing to Grandin,” Parrington said. “I thought we had them going into the third and it was only a six-point game going into the fourth quarter. And then we lost them.”
Parrington had a whopping 38 points in the Falcons’ finale.
Gwilliam said he would have liked to have gone further in the provincials, however, he said there were plenty of high points in the season including winning the Foothills Athletic Council title for the seventh consecutive year.
They also lost to the eventual provincial champions, the Cardston Cougars, by only a mere four points earlier in the season.
Foothills will graduate three key seniors, in Parrington, Armsworthy and Seichi Kyle.
“Those are big losses for us,” Gwilliam said. “But we have a lot of guys returning.”
Some of the key returnees for the Falcons include Derochie, Karl, Austin Smutko, Austin Orr, Noah Wilkie, Anthony Cayetano and Matt Lloyd. Junior Varsity Falcons Morgan Burbank and Garrett Young did see some action with the Senior squad and could play important roles next year.