Falcons make a 4A statement

Basketball: Foothills beats a pair of ranked schools

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014 06:00 am

Foothills Falcon Jessica Lynes stepped out of bounds after being pushed by Paul Kane Blue Kaitlyn Hunder in the semifinals of the Bobcat Bowl at Bishop O’Byrne High School in Calgary Saturday.
Foothills Falcon Jessica Lynes stepped out of bounds after being pushed by Paul Kane Blue Kaitlyn Hunder in the semifinals of the Bobcat Bowl at Bishop O’Byrne High School in Calgary Saturday.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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The Foothills Falcons made a statement at a girls high school basketball tournament this weekend. That statement was: “We belong at the 4A high school provincials.”

The Falcons finished in third-place at the Bobcat Bowl at Bishop O’Byrne High School in Calgary — knocking off a pair of ranked 4A schools along the way.

Foothills outlasted the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs — the seventh ranked team in the province — 56-53 in the bronze medal game Saturday.

Foothills found themselves behind 27-23 at halftime, but they didn’t panic.

“I told the girls: ‘Hey, you know what it takes to win and what we need to do to get it done,” Falcons coach Lana Gwilliam said. “When we needed a big stop and the end, the girls came through and pulled it out.”

The Falcons spread their scoring around evenly. Grade 11 guard Lauren Bailey and point guard Kennedy Burgess led the team with 11 points. Tournament all-star post Kalli Turbach crashed the boards with eight rebounds, and contributed eight points. The Grade 12 post said it was a big win for the Falcons.

“We all knew we had to work together and get a lot of stops — our defence played very well on that front,” said the five-foot-10 Turbach. She said with the Falcons going to provincials at the end of March, it is a huge confidence boost.

“We are going to provincials to compete, not just to show up,” Turbach said. “Our league doesn’t have any 4A teams, so to beat these teams in tournaments is really important for us.”

Foothills opened the tournament by bouncing the William Aberhart Orange 52-51 Friday night. Aberhart has earned an honourable mention in the rankings.

“We had lost to Aberhart earlier in the year so that was big to get that win over them,” Gwilliam said.

Turbach had another monster game under the boards, snaring 14 rebounds to go with her six points. McCarthy had a team-high 13 points. Mariah Hoare also finished in double digits with 10 points.

Burgess also had 10 points.

The Falcons appear to like the colour orange a whole lot more than blue.

The Falcons only loss was to the Paul Kane Blues 66-41 in the semifinal Saturday morning. Foothills played like they had set their clocks ahead a few weeks before daylight savings. They seemed to be an hour behind.

Foothills fell behind 22-2 in the opening quarter.

“We started slow and the girls were kind of tired, but I told the girls you have to come out and play every game — hey, the other team played at the same time,” Gwilliam said. “We came back and actually cut it down to 10 points in the third quarter.”

However, there’s a reason the winner of the marathon doesn’t usually find herself six miles back in the race. It’s tiring to catch up.

“When you are down for most of the game it is tough to mentally do the little things you need to do to come back,” Gwilliam said.

“We made some little mistakes in the fourth quarter and before you knew it, we were down by 20 points.”

Burgess led the Falcons with 12 points.

Gwilliam wasn’t singing the blues after the tournament as they prepare for provincials.

“To be able to beat some of these good teams, it’s good to see,” Gwilliam said. “We have played well against good 4A teams before and just weren’t able to finish them. This weekend, we were able to finish two out of three.”

The Falcons resumed Foothills Athletic Council play last night by downing the Highwood Mustangs 67-36 Monday in High River. The Falcons are a perfect 6-0 in FAC play.

They host their cross-town rivals the Holy Trinity Academy Knights on Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m. They then travel to Strathmore to play the 5-2 Spartans on Thursday.

The FAC playoffs begin on March 3.

For more information go to www.foothillsathetics.ca


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