Basketball teams swish the ranks
by Derek Cornet
Two basketball tournaments last weekend had people coming and going at three Meadow Lake schools.
While the Jonas Samson Junior High (JSJH) Gold and Black Basketball tournament took place at Carpenter High School, the Boys and Girls Junior Basketball tournament was held at JSJH and Gateway Elementary School. Separated by their sexes into four teams, dozens of Grade 7 JSJH athletes competed in the Gold and Black tournament.
The tournament was memorable for the JSJH boys as both its gold team and its black team came face-to-face in the final. Coach Curtis Paylor said both teams were excited to meet each other at the end and said it was a nice way for the event to conclude.
“The players hussled from start to finish and really tried hard,” he said. “It was really competitive, so the boys know they did well.”
On the girls side, the gold team’s coach, Linda Harman, said her club wound up with third place. She added many of the players were new to the sport and everyone on the team was happy to have performed as well as they did.
Meanwhile, at JSJH, the Grade 7 and 8 boys team left with a second-place victory after being defeated by Lloydminster’s Holy Rosary High School. Coach Rob Kozinski said the crowd was on the edge of their seats during the final game, where his team lost 36-34.
“I don’t think any of the players ever had such an intense game like that,” he said. “At the end, it came down to one basket.”
Kozinski said it’s been a good few months for the boys, adding they’ve won more games than they’ve lost. This weekend, they’ll travel to Lloydminster for the district championship, which will mark the end of the season.
“It’s sad to see basketball come to an end because the development of these guys has been awesome to watch,” he said. “Most of them are improving week-to-week.”
At the end of the tournament, a team spirit award was given to JSJH player Cole Barker for his good attitude and the improvement he has shown since November. Kozinski said he and the team’s other coach, Trent Marsh, had discussed who should get it throughout the tournament and, by the last game, it was apparent Barker was most deserving.
“At the end of it all, his smile was as big as the world,” he said.