Falcons give defending champs a scare
Basketball: Both boys and girls compete at Edmonton tourney
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 10:28 am
The Foothills Falcons nearly had the cat by the tail, but in the end they lost by a whisker to the defending 4A provincial senior boys champions.
The Falcons were trimmed 74-70 by the defending champs, the Cardston Cougars, in the opening round of the Ross Sheppard Tournament in Edmonton on Friday.
“We competed really hard with them,” Falcons coach Amron Gwilliam said. “We had a four or five point lead in the fourth quarter, but in the stretch of about a minute, we had three guys foul out.”
The Cougars pounced on the opportunity like a kitty chasing yarn and went on to win by the four-point margin.
Gwilliam said while the Cougs may not be quite as strong as they have been in the past, Cardston High is still awfully good.
“They are quite a bit smaller than they were last year, but it is still a very impressive team,” Gwilliam said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have won, but I was impressed with how we competed.”
The Falcons had a balanced attack in the loss to Cardston. They were led by the soft-shooting touch of Austin Smutko who finished with 15 points. Noah Wilkie contributed 12 points and Jamie Derochie had 11 points.
Morgan Burbank contributed eight points as did Hunter Karl.
The loss led the Falcons to the land of consolation where they met some lanky lads from Leduc.
“They have four or five guys who are 6-5 or taller and this year we are a little bit smaller,” Gwilliam said. “We have Austin Orr at 6-7 and Noah Wilkie at 6-5 and after that our guys are less than 6-2.
Good things come in small packages as the Falcons won 62-54. When it comes to rebounding, the Foothills relied on the old real estate jingle: ‘Location, location, location.’
“We have to make sure we played well positionally and kept the ball out of their big guys’ hands and work together team-defence wise,” Gwilliam said.
Karl led the Falcons with 21 points and Wilkie finished with 10. Derochie chipped in eight.
Gwilliam estimated Wilkie had 20 rebounds in the victory over Leduc.
The victory put the Falcons in the consolation final against Aden Bowman High School from Saskatoon.
The Falcons should have set their alarm clocks a bit earlier for the 9 a.m. start on Saturday.
“We looked a little big groggy and slow,” Gwilliam said. “We just didn’t play as well as we could have.”
The Falcons lost with Karl leading the troops with 25 points.
Foothills opened its Foothills Athletic Council schedule with an 83-21 win over Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School at Foothills.
Morgan Burbank led the Falcons in scoring with 13 points.
They host the feisty Oilfields Drillers tonight (Dec. 11) at Foothills at 7:15 p.m.
Foothills might get another shot at the Cardston Cougars Tournament this weekend.
The Falcons girls are still winless in tournament play, but they plan to hit their stride by the end of the year.
Foothills went 0-3 at the Ross Sheppard tourney but got some valuable court time.
“We didn’t win a game this weekend, but we are playing better,” said Falcons coach Lana Gwilliam. “We just aren’t quite there yet — we aren’t finishing. We missed a lot of layups and open shots, but it is coming.”
The Falcons picked up their first victory of the year when they downed the Highwood Mustangs 72-42 Monday night at the Comp. Kennedy Burgess was the Falcons’ top scorer with 13 points.
The Falcons next game is tonight Dec. 11 when they host the Drillers at 5:30 p.m.