Knights consoled by strong effort
Basketball: HTA goes 1-2 against bigger 4A schools
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 06:00 am
Some young guns made their point on the weekend.
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights held their own against bigger 4A schools as they advanced to the consolation final of the Father Michael Troy Senior boys basketball tournament Saturday in Edmonton.
They did it by beating Notre Dame Cougars (Red Deer) 72-64 while HTA all-star point guard Dylan Wheeler watched from the bench.
“Dylan fouled out with about nine minutes left in the game,” said Knights head coach Sam Aiello. “I thought our team could go two ways — fold up and say ‘well Dylan’s out of the game or they could bear down and play hard, which is what they did.”
It was Grade 10 student Jared Helinsky who moved over from shooting to point guard when Wheeler became a spectator with the Knights clinging to a precarious eight-point lead.
“We were nervous at first because Dylan mainly scores all our points — we didn’t know if we could pull it out,” Helinsky said. “Mr. Aiello told me that I needed to control the game… They (Notre Dame) really pressured hard, I thought I handled it well and was able to control the game for us.”
Despite fouling out, Wheeler led the Knights with 18 points. Helinsky contributed 17, while Jacob Zelenski had 16. Nate Wall contributed 10 points in the victory.
The Knights then took on the St. Francis Xavier Rams from Edmonton— a team which lost in the 4A provincial semifinals last season – in the consolation final.
HTA was more than respectable, dropping at 82-70 decision.
“The last seven years they have been a provincial contender,” Aiello said of the Rams. “A good, disciplined team that shoots very well. They hit 12 three’s against us.”
Wheeler poured in 17 points in the loss. Zelenski finished with 16 points. James Hielema finished with 10 and Kade McCormick contribute nine points.
The Knights opened the tournament with a 79-67 loss to the Archbishop MacDonald Marauders. HTA may have had some pre-tournament jitters as they fell behind by 21 at the half.
“We were able to whittle it down to nine points and then MacDonald was able to run it out at the end — they have some great shooters,” Knights coach Sam Aiello said. “I think we needed just a little of work with our post players. Our size still needs to be a little more aggressive, a little bit more physical.”
HTA has five players at post — none of them in Grade 12.
Wheeler was the Knights’ top scorer with 19 points against St. FX.
Wall and Nick Villarreal also finished in double digits with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Aiello found plenty of consolation in the tournament, despite the 1-2 record.
“It was an extremely competitive tournament and all our games were physical — and we played all 4A schools,” Aiello said. “A good weekend for us.”
Schools with an enrolment of more than 800 students are 4A, while 799 and less are 3A. HTA is 3A.
The Knights resume Foothills Athletic Council play tonight when they host the Strathmore Spartans at 7:15 p.m. HTA has a 4-1 record in the league.
For more information about the council go to www.foothillsathletics.ca