Knights bounced in bronze final
Basketball: HTA girls finish fourth at home tournament
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights Senior girls hoopsters could be in midseason form before league play even tips-off.
Competing in three photo-finish contests has a way of advancing teams out of early season doldrums.
Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) earned a fourth-place finish at its 12th annual Knights Classic after finishing 1-2 in a trio of last-minute finishes, including a 51-42 loss to Wetaskiwin in Saturday’s bronze medal game.
“You can’t replicate that emotion and stress level in practice so those are very, very valuable,” said Knights head coach Ashley Herzog on the close results. “I would have preferred that maybe they weren’t so close in the first tournament, that’s pretty stressful on me and the girls, too.
“Overall it’s a benefit, for sure.”
The Knights held a one-point advantage on the tenacious Wetaskiwin Sabres with two minutes left in the third-place game before key starters Charissa Hielema and Jenna Lorenz fouled out one after the other and turned the game on its head.
“That changes your dynamic on the court big time when you have bench players coming on in a tight situation like that,” Herzog said. “Putting those young players into a stressful situation like that is a benefit, too.
“It’s better with these young players stepping in right away. Then they know they can do it, not do it, or what they have to work on and what kind of mental breakdown we had during those two minutes.”
Despite fouling out, Hielema and Lorenz led the Knights with 14 and 12 points along with a 10-point showing from Grade 11 post Erin Murray.
The Knights’ hopes of moving on in the tournament were almost over before it started as an opening match with the Cochrane Cobras went right down to the wire.
HTA forced overtime on a pair of clutch free-throws from Hielema and held on for a 50-49 victory after Murray sunk a lay-up with less than 10 seconds left in OT.
“I thought we were actually going to lose it at the end there, but Charissa put down those critical foul shots and tied it,” said Lorenz, a Grade 12 post. “We just came together for the overtime, we wanted it more than them and pushed through to win it in the end.”
Hielema paced the Knights with a 26-point performance. Claire Thorimbert and Lorenz chipped in with 11 and 6 points, respectively.
The opening win pushed the Knights into a semifinal with the Kate Andrews Pride out of Coaldale. HTA lost 50-48 in another match up for grabs in the final moments.
Thorimbert gave the Knights a 47-46 lead with 53 seconds on the clock before a series of miscues led to 4-1 run by the Pride including a three-point play to close out the contest from Ashley Bodie with 8.7 seconds remaining.
“That was a tough loss,” Lorenz said. “It was just a lack of communication on the last play coming down and we had a turnover that ended it for us.”
Hielema poured in 15 points to lead the team along with a 13-point effort from Lorenz and a six-point performance from Grade 10 point guard Ashley Hickel.
When the Knights weren’t hitting their outside shots, they were crashing the boards and cleaning up under the basket to keep the Pride within reach.
“It was probably our best defensive game and on offence we had a lot of opportunities and a lot of second chances and got a lot of boards,” Lorenz said. “We have a few tall players, big players that are good underneath.”
Hielema, the Knights’ leading scorer in all three games, was named their tournament all-star.
In the gold medal game, Medicine Hat’s McCoy Colts trounced Kate Andrews to take home the tournament title.
The Knights kick off their league slate in the Foothills Athletics Council tonight, Dec. 11, with a road date against the Spartans in Strathmore. The Knights then tip-off against the Highwood Mustangs on Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the HTA gym.
For more schedule information go to foothillsathletics.ca