Defence-first Spartans hit silver streak
Basketball: Strathcona-Tweedsmuir girls finish second at home tournament
Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 06:00 am
Defence was the best offence when facing a tough draw and unknown competition.
The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir senior girls leaned on a tenacious defensive effort to grind their way to a silver-medal finish at the Spartans Invitational Basketball Tournament on Saturday evening.
“We’re most definitely a defensive team,” said Spartans coach Ken Zelez. “After this weekend we’ve really defined ourselves as being able to play some really solid defence against other teams.”
The silver-finish might not have been forecasted in the early stages of the invitational.
STS shook off an inauspicious start to edge Ponoka 63-50 in the opener.
“We actually played quite well offensively and defensively, that was one our more solid games of the season,” Zelez said. “Except for our first quarter. Our first quarter was horrendous, it was like we had never played basketball before. It was realizing we could be better than we are in front of our home crowd, there were nerves.”
In a battle of Spartans the hosts edged out Regina’s Sheldon Williams 61-58 to book its ticket to the final.
STS owned a 15-point lead late in the contest before their combatants surged back to keep it close.
“Sheldon Williams is a nice team,” Zelez said. “They had two girls go off for 30 points each in their first game and we devised a plan to hold them back on scoring as well and the plan worked.”
The gold-medal game saw STS fall 59-38 to the 3A powerhouse Cochrane Cobras, the prohibitive favourites entering the tournament.
“Our only goal was to not have them get 80 because they got 80 against everybody else,” Zelez said. “We were able to scout them out a little bit, watch their first two games. Our girls have become quite gritty over the past two years and really wanted to play some tough defence.
“We were able to disrupt them on offence, but we were disrupted on offence too and they played great defence on us.”
Spartan Evelien Boerstra was chosen as the team’s player of the game by opposing coaches in all three contests while teammate Emy Udoh was named the squad’s tournament all-star.
“I’ve had them on the team since Grade 10,” the coach added. “That’s really rewarding when your seniors stand out after three years.”