Falcons run off with rivalry victory

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Call ‘em the Foothills Roadrunners.

The Foothills Falcons more than made up for their lack of height with their speed and endurance in running off with an 88-64 victory over crosstown rivals the Holy Trinity Academy Knights Dec. 21 at HTA in boys’ basketball action.

“We are not as big, so we can’t do anything like giving it to our post players and relying on them,” said Falcons 6-foot-3 forward David Kent-Canalejo. “So we know we have to speed up our offence and do the best with what we have here… Our identity is speed and we have to use it to our advantage.”

What they have is an offence, that moves the ball quicker than Tommy on a Bally pinball machine.

They can also shoot like wizards.

The Falcons did not ever trail in the game – getting the scoring going early with a three-point bomb from Jaxen Perrett shortly after tip-off.

“The guys were able to give me the ball and I was able to get open and make my shots,” The Grade 11 Perrett, said. “I love playing with these guys. It is so much fun.”

He finished the game with a team-high 20 points, including four baskets from beyond the arc.

Foothills would lead by as much as 12 in the opening half, but the Knights kept plugging away. HTA was able to cut the lead to 36-30 by an add-on by Kessler Bishop with less than a minute left in the first half. The Falcons would have a slim 38-30 lead at the half.

The Falcons flew away with it in the second half, building up a 20-point 57-37 lead early in the third quarter after guard Josh Derochie’s soft-touch shot hit nothing but net.

They never looked back.

“I though we were with them in the first half,” Knights coach Sam Aiello said. “We were still in the game, but we just didn’t match their intensity in the third quarter…

“We talked at halftime to come out get the first couple of baskets and get back in it. It was unfortunately the opposite. Foothills attacked us and we didn’t recover.

“That disappointed me.”

He said the hardest working Knight on the night was David Bowers, who finished with seven points, but was a thorn in the side of the Falcons.

Bowers was also disappointed.

“I hate losing – I hate losing a lot,” Bowers said matter-of-factly. “Foothills worked together as a team really hard. They press, they steal the ball they make you force errors. We have to be smarter with everything we do. Every touch, every pass, every shot and we have to make the most of it.

“I just don’t think we played as well as they did.”

HTA’s Kessler Bishop, who has been the Knights’ Lancelot in the early going this season, led the team with 20 points, but admitted he was flummoxed by the Falcons’ tenacious defence.

“I don’t think I came ready I was a little nervous,” Bishop said. “Their press was super strong and tough to break. The press is annoying, they run it the whole game, they were always on us. We have to make smarter passes, less passing.”

It’s all part of being a team that is on the diminutive size when it comes to basketball, according to Falcons coach Amron Gwilliam.

“We just have to rotate all the guys and get guys in help-side positions,” Gwilliam said.

As for the ball movement, basketball fans will have to get use to following the fast action.

“These guys are unselfish,” Gwilliam said of his squad. “They like to play together, they like to play basketball and they move the ball. That is the key to our offence.”

The two Joshes, Josh Derochie and Josh Pahl, finished with 18 points and 12, respectively. Pahl also had eight rebounds.

He was impressed with the Knights, adding the Falcons will have to stay sharp to pull off a win against HTA in future dates — including zones in March.

“They are a good team and we knew they weren’t going to go away,” Gwilliam said of the first half.

The Falcons opened the week by downing the Notre Dame Pride 93-82 on Dec. 21 at the Comp.

Foothills will play in the Sugar Bowl in Raymond over the holidays.

They play the host Raymond Comets on Dec. 26.

The Knights are off for the Christmas break. Their next action is the Knights Classic at HTA on Jan. 12-13.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca

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