Two basketball teams are bringing back championship banners to Chestermere High School.
The senior girls team knocked off Cochrane 67-42 March 3 to cap another undefeated Rocky View Sports Association season. The junior boys team pulled out a closer win, topping Cochrane 80-71 to hand that team it’s first loss of the season.
The senior girls will be taking on Holy Trinity and Foothills Composite in a zone play down with the winner heading to the 4A provincial tournament March 15-17 in Medicine Hat.
There are 11 Grade 12 players on the senior girls Lakers, and that group has had quite a run through their high school careers.
“They didn’t a lose a league game or a divisional playoff game in the four years those 11 were together,” said coach Annette Wilson. “They’ve been together for so long and there’s that confidence knowing each other. Having that experience in Rocky View gives us that advantage.”
Kendall Russell scored 21 points in the final, while Kasey Haasen was strong on the boards and chipped in with nine points.
“It was a really good game for us,” Wilson said. “We were actually quite nervous because it was a divisional final. We played tentatively in the first half without a doubt. We missed a lot of shots we typically would make because we set a high expectation for ourselves.
“We settled down in the second half and put additional pressure on Cochrane. Our experience came through and we spread the gap to about 25 points by the end of the game.”
The junior boys had a much closer game but still led wire to wire for their victory. They will also take on Holy Trinity and Foothills Composite in the zone playoffs, but there is no provincial tournament at the junior level.
Malek Meddeb led the Lakers with 25 points, while Logan Bennett had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Earlier this season, the Lakers lost to Cochrane by 12 points, so this turnaround is quite impressive and it comes at the perfect time.
“We had a pretty young team,” said coach Mitch Turgeon. “We had six Grade 9s of our 11 guys. The bulk of our scoring comes from those guys. There was a ton of growth.
“For us to win by nine and have a 21-point turnaround over the course of a few months is awesome. This is a good group of kids and they worked hard.”
For the senior girls team, they have their sights set on provincials.
Wins on Tuesday and Thursday in the zone playoffs would give them a ticket to Medicine Hat and that’s what they’ve been working towards for many years.
“I’ve said to the girls they have all the tools in the toolbox to get the job done,” Wilson said. “They have to trust in the process we’ve prepared. If they come through and execute what they’ve been taught, play with that heart and drive, this is it.
“If they don’t win and qualify they are done and that’s their career. There’s a sense of urgency from there for sure. There are 11 of 13 that are in Grade 12 this year. It is the last hurrah for sure.
“This is their goal. When they were in Grade 10, that core group went to 3A provincials and finished fourth. Last year, we were in 4A and weren’t quite ready. We’ve played quite a few 4A teams this year that were all ranked in the top 10. As the year has gone along, we’ve been far more competitive. We’ve beat two top 10 ranked teams this year.”