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Skyhawks fly high

Host team tips off tournament with 88-point margin of victory against St. Joseph Ceinahs

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 06:00 am

SOARING TO VICTORY - St. Albert Skyhawks co-captain Kayla Ivicak goes for a layup against the St. Joseph Ceinahs of Grande Prairie in the first half in Thursday's opening game at the second annual Skyhawks Invitational Basketball Tournament. Ivicak was the top scorer with 23 points in the 116-28 rout. The final of the 16-team draw tips off today at 4 p.m. at the SkyDome.
SOARING TO VICTORY - St. Albert Skyhawks co-captain Kayla Ivicak goes for a layup against the St. Joseph Ceinahs of Grande Prairie in the first half in Thursday's opening game at the second annual Skyhawks Invitational Basketball Tournament. Ivicak was the top scorer with 23 points in the 116-28 rout. The final of the 16-team draw tips off today at 4 p.m. at the SkyDome.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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The No. 1 team in 3A provincial women’s basketball picked up where it left off after the exam break in Thursday’s lid-lifter at the second annual St. Albert Skyhawks Invitational Tournament.

The host Skyhawks annihilated the St. Joseph Ceinahs of Grande Prairie 116-28 without breaking a sweat in their first game since Jan. 10.

“We just pushed the ball and worked really good together as a team,” said Grade 10 wing Brielle Wise. “It was good for us to get into the groove again coming off the exam break.”

The three-time reigning 3A provincial gold medallists poured in 20 points before the Ceinahs got on the scoreboard with a layup with 5:42 left in the first quarter at the SkyDome.

The rest of the game was basically a glorified scrimmage for the Skyhawks. It was 37-7 after the first 10-minute period, 64-17 at halftime and 87-21 after three quarters.

In the last period the Skyhawks were three points away from hitting triple digits, when Jamie Cole hit a free throw but missed the second attempt and Wise reeled in the ball. Wise whipped it back to Cole at the top of the key and she fired a pass to Paige Knull cutting to the hoop and the third-year Skyhawk deposited her last field goal of the game to make it 100-25 with 5:34 to play.

Kayla Ivicak led all scorers with 23 points. Knull sank 19 and Amber Easthope and Wise added 16 apiece.

“It’s a pretty good win. It gives us lots of momentum for our upcoming games because we’re going to be challenged some more,” Wise said.

The Ceniahs drew the short straw in the 16-team tournament when the Skyhawks’ original opponent, W.P. Wagner Warriors, dropped out at the last minute and the draw was tweaked so the 3A-level Grande Prairie team would play the 2012 metro Edmonton champions instead of the Bowness Trojans of Calgary in Morinville.

The Edwin Parr Predators of Athabasca, ranked fourth in 3A, replaced the Warriors in the tournament.

The No. 1-ranked 4A Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats of Calgary, No. 3-ranked 3A Chestermere Lakers, No. 6-ranked 3A Edmonton Christian Lions and the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes of Winnipeg and the James Mahoney Saints of Saskatoon are also entered

The quarterfinals and semifinals were played Friday, but the scores were unavailable at press time.

The tournament wraps up today at the SkyDome and Morinville Community High School. The SkyDome is the venue for the 12 p.m. consolation final, 2 p.m. third-place game and 4 p.m. final.

“It would mean a lot to be in the final. It would show how hard we worked and with the competition here it will show we can battle with the top teams in Alberta,” Wise said.

The Skyhawks were 17-0 overall after one of their most lopsided victories of the season. The win also extended the team’s undefeated streak to 25 games dating back to late February last year.

“We bust our butts in practice and I guess it shows on the court. We just come together as a team and we have good chemistry,” said Wise.

The junior high product of the Richard S. Fowler Falcons made a triumphant return to the Skyhawks after fracturing her right thumb at the Sabres Classic in Sherwood Park and sitting out four games.

“It was good to get back into the groove. I’ve been wanting to play for so long and I’m just happy to be healthy and contributing to the team,” said Wise, who was in the starting line-up Thursday. “It was tough not playing but I always tried to focus on helping my teammates out and always being positive on the bench and just being a role model for them.”

In league play the only 3A team in metro premier is 6-0 with six games remaining. Tournaments at Chestermere and Spruce Grove are also on tap prior to the premier playoffs.

The Edmonton zone elimination tournament goes March 4 to 7 and provincials run March 14 to 16 in Strathmore.

“We’re just going to give it our all. We’re always striving to be better so you want to go into provincials with as much momentum as we can play,” said Wise, 15.

The five-foot-11 Skyhawk is one of five Grade 10s among seven newcomers on the 10-player roster.

“It's been the best experience I’ve ever had in basketball. It’s been awesome. I just love every minute of it and I cherish all of it. I would never pick any other school other than SACHS,” said member of the Zone 5 gold-medal team at the 2012 Alberta Summer Games.

FREE THROWS: Monday the Skyhawks visit the St. Francis Xavier Rams (5-2) at 6:15 p.m. in premier action.

Grade 10 standout Marinya Marcichiw didn’t dress Thursday because of the flu and was doubtful for the rest of the tournament.


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