The rust is slowly getting knocked off the Holy Trinity Academy Knights armour as they stampeded into their first boys basketball tournament of the season.
However, a Buffalo stampede in the dying minutes of the Brooks Composite High School tournament had them settling for the silver medal on Saturday.
“It was a back-and forth game, they would get up by six and then we would get up by six,” Knights coach Sam Aiello said of their 95-88 loss to the host Brooks Buffalos. “But in the last two or three minutes, Brooks hit a couple of big shots and then they were able to extend it.”
It was an old western-style shootout.
“There was one point in the fourth-quarter there must have been eight threes in a row — four from them and four for us,” Aiello said. “The shooting was crazy.”
The big three-point shooters for HTA were returning guard Matt Scharien who had four three-point bombs and Grade 10 rookie wing Benjamin Leggett also hit some shots from about Cluny with three from beyond the arc.
However, the Knights animal was Kessler Bishop who had 32 points and 24 reebs.
“He was a beast in the last game,” Aiello said. “He was active underneath the glass, a lot of second-chance points.”
Sometimes size matters.
“I think that is the most rebounds I have had in my life,” the 6-foot-6 Bishop said. “I was quite a bit taller than the guys on the other team.”
The Knights advanced to the final by trimming the tough Willow Creek Cobras from Claresholm in the semifinal.
“I know they are only 2A but they have a nice team,” Aiello said. “We were down by 15 but we able to come back and win it.”
Bishop led the team again with 21 points, Carson McKenzie had 14, while Justin Cyr was the top rebounder with eight.
HTA opened the tournament with an 89-56 win over fellow Foothills Athletic Council foe the Strathmore Spartans on Friday. Guard Eli McKitrick finished with 12 point, and Leggett had 11. Seth Obee pumped in nine points.
Bishop once again led the way with 17 points.
The Grade 12 Bishop was not only happy with his game, but from the team as well.
“We fought pretty hard and I thought our Grade 10s played really well,” Kessler said. “Ben Leggett was really solid and consistent. In the last quarter of the final and the semifinal our team snapped together and we were a lot more aggressive. Now we have to go into the game like that.”
While winning two out of three ain’t bad, the real benefit of the weekend the Knights being on the court.
“We just had a really good team weekend,” Aiello said. “The guys were good teammates to each other. We had different guys who stepped up and contributed and were nice surprises.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I was happy with what I saw.”
He said all of the players got quality minutes in the Brooks tourney.
The Knights open their FAC season Dec. 6 when they host the scrappy Notre Dame Collegiate Timberwolves at 5:30 p.m.
HTA is in Red Deer this weekend for a tournament.