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Skyhawks fly high

Overall record for the reigning 3A provincial champions is 16-4

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 08, 2012 06:00 am

BREAKING AWAY - Kendall Lydon of the St. Albert Skyhawks streaks past Renee MacPherson of the Sturgeon Spirits in Saturday's final at the Skyhawks Invitational basketball tournament. The Skyhawks won 72-27. Lydon scored 14 points in the first half.
BREAKING AWAY - Kendall Lydon of the St. Albert Skyhawks streaks past Renee MacPherson of the Sturgeon Spirits in Saturday's final at the Skyhawks Invitational basketball tournament. The Skyhawks won 72-27. Lydon scored 14 points in the first half.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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The host team of the inaugural Skyhawks Invitational basketball tournament ran away with the women’s final Saturday.

The St. Albert Skyhawks outscored the Sturgeon Spirits 25-6 in the second quarter en route to a 72-27 triumph at the SkyDome.

“We played really well as a team today,” said Kayla Ivicak, a Grade 10 Skyhawk. “We hustled really well. We pushed the ball quite well. Our boxing out was pretty good, too. It was better than most of our games.”

In the first half Grade 12 gunner Kendall Lydon buried the Spirits with two three-pointers and 14 points as the Skyhawks built up a commanding 41-14 halftime advantage.

Ivicak, 15, scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half to lead all bench players. Hayley Warmington, Lauren Walter, Jade Fisher and Petra Catarig also contributed offensively as non-starters for the two-time defending 3A provincial champions.

“We are a very synchronized kind of team so it doesn’t matter who we have playing together,” Ivicak said.

Tiana Campbell of the Spirits scored her team-high 10 points in the first half. The Spirits, one of five teams to receive an honourable mention in the 4A rankings, are 2-4 in the metro Edmonton premier conference after going 11-4 last season as city conference finalists.

The Skyhawks marched into the final of the eight-team draw with convincing wins of 88-33 over the Strathcona Christian Academy Eagles and 87-40 against the Wetaskiwin Sabres. Lydon led all scorers with 19 points against the Eagles, ranked fifth in 2A, and 21 points against the Sabres, a 3A honourable mention.

Also hitting double digits against the Sabres were Haley England and Amber Easthope with 13 apiece and Zoe Downing and Ivicak with 12 apiece.

The tournament final marked the fourth win in four days by the Skyhawks following the exam break.

“It was a good start for us to get back into it again,” Ivicak said. “We gradually improved in each game. We did things better, from the first game [68-51 over the eighth-ranked 4A O’Leary Spartans in premier] to this game today.”

The Skyhawks raised their premier record to 6-0 in Monday’s 76-68 overtime thriller against the Archbishop Jordan Scots (4-1) in Sherwood Park. After regulation time it was tied at 65. Lydon drained 26 points, England had 11 and Downing nailed three three-pointers.

The Skyhawks are undefeated in three games against the Scots, ranked fifth in 4A as the second-highest Edmonton team listed in the top 10.

The overall record for the No. 1 ranked 3A team in Alberta is an impressive 16-4.

“You always have to perform your best on this team so there is definitely that pressure on us,” Ivicak said. “The big thing for us is we bond together really well as a team. We’re comfortable with each other. The coaching obviously is pretty good too.”

The junior high product of the Vincent J. Maloney Marauders is one of only three newcomers to crack the 11-player Skyhawks roster.

“It’s fun. I like it a lot. I’m glad I came to this school and I’m on the team. It’s been a great experience,” said the five-foot-eight guard who attacks the hoop like a power forward. “The speed of the game is a lot faster but I’m getting used to it now, so that’s been an adjustment.”

The next tournament for the Skyhawks is the Harry Ainlay Tri-Prov. The team’s first game tips off Thursday at noon against the rival Edmonton Christian Lions at Louis St. Laurent High School. The Edmonton public league team is ranked third in 3A.

FREE THROWS: In the men’s tournament division at the SkyDome the Lions finished first and the Ernest Manning Griffins of Calgary placed second in the seven-team draw.

In the third-place playoff the Skyhawks beat the Louis St. Laurent Barons 71-50. The Barons are 5-3 in the city conference.

In the semifinals the Skyhawks dropped a 74-72 decision to the Lions. The Lions and Skyhawks are ranked third and seventh, respectively, in 3A.

In premier action Monday the Skyhawks are 4-2 after defeating the winless Scots 77-51 in Sherwood Park.


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