The Chestermere Lakers senior girls basketball team has reached their No. 1 goal of the season. Now it’s time to push for some bonus results.
With a 92-78 victory over Holy Trinity Academy from Okotoks, the Lakers captured the South Central zone championship and booked a ticket to Medicine Hat for 4A provincials March 15-17.
That’s two banners for the girls team, which boasts 11 Grade 12s among the 13 on the squad, after they won the Rocky View championship a week earlier.
It’s a great feeling to be going to provincials, but why stop there? They want to carry this momentum against the top 4A teams in the province, with an onus on that first game Thursday.
“When we were talking after the game, I told them the job isn’t done yet,” said head coach Annette Wilson. “We can go there and be competitive at provincials.
“You never know what will happen until you get there. We will have work to do. That’s where their heads are right now. They know the season isn’t finished. There is still some pride left to see how they can finish at provincials.”
The Lakers rolled through the first game of the zone tournament by beating Holy Trinity 69-47 in the opening game last Tuesday, then they pulled out a close one — 56-51 — over Foothills on Thursday to remain undefeated through league and playoff action.
Kasey Haasen led the way in Saturday’s final against Holy Trinity, scoring 28 points, while Kendall Russell poured in 18 as the Lakers turned things on after only being up by one after the first quarter.
Cole Isbister had 12 points and Natalie McKernan put in a lucky 13 as the balanced scoring worked for the Lakers throughout the tournament.
Getting 92 points in in the final is a boost to them as they head to Medicine Hat.
“To play a tough team like and score that much is pretty awesome,” Wilson said. “They made a run in the third quarter on us. We were up by 20 at one point in time but it came down to nine. We kept the gap to double digits the rest of the way.
“It was a good battle. They have a couple of sisters on their team — a Grade 11 and a Grade 10 — that are phenomenal.”
There’s a bit of a relief more than jubilation for Wilson that the team has qualified for provincials. There was a lot of expectations from this group that they would represent Chestermere at the 4A tournament this year, so they feel accomplished that they’ve done it.
The group of Grade 12s went four years without losing a league game, but now they will be facing teams that they’ve lost close games to in exhibition tournaments during the season.
They have won a couple times against top-10 ranked teams in Alberta, so there is a confidence that they can compete. Now they just have to put it all together.
“Last year we were in tough to get there and we lost to Foothills,” Wilson said. “This year, we played tougher competition all the way along. We played all those tough teams and it got us ready for this week to compete and win those three games in a row.
“Our girls in the past few weeks have been playing really well and very consistent. They are as ready as they could be walking into this provincial tournament. They’ve played very consistent and they’ve played well. We couldn’t ask for more in terms of coaching.”