Blues sing new tune
Paul Kane men's basketball team have high hopes after losing season
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am
The Paul Kane Blues are shooting for a bounce-back season after a three-win campaign in metro Edmonton high school hoops.
The varsity men’s team will have to reverse its fortunes in a tougher division after the merger of the Edmonton metro and public leagues created a 14-team super league, compared to the eight-team premier conference.
“We’re preparing for a strong showing with all the divisions moved together now and we’re looking to be top in div one just like everyone else,” said Quinn Peterson, a Grade 11 standout who pumped in 20 points in Monday’s 71-56 loss to the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds in Paul Kane’s home opener.
The vertically-challenged Blues will win games with heart and hustle, combined with accurate shooting and a tenacious brand of defence.
“We’re athletic and small but we can shoot. We’ll shoot our way into games,” Peterson said. “We have a group of guys that work hard minute to minute, second to second, who claw for every inch. We don't quit. We push right to the very last buzzer.”
The Blues made their season debut at the 21st annual Totem Hoop Classic at Shep last week and finished 1-2 for fourth place in the eight-team draw.
“It was a great experience. We played some good teams and competed well in those games. We showed people that Paul Kane means business this year,” said Peterson, a tournament all-star. “The composure we showed was great. We didn't show that we were a young team. There was not a lot of turnovers and we pushed the ball well in transition.”
The Blues kicked off the tournament with an 84-59 decision against the Leduc Tigers. Peterson and Frankie White dropped in 18 points apiece and Danny Iskander added 10.
The Blues sank eight three-pointers against the division two metro team, led by Peterson’s three and a pair by White.
Theo Block had four steals and Shayden Philip grabbed five defensive rebounds.
In the semifinals the Blues lost 70-53 to the Cardston Cougars, the two-time defending 4A provincial champions.
Cardston outscored the Blues 24-9 in the second quarter to lead 41-33 at halftime. It was 56-47 Cardston after three quarters.
“We had a strong showing against Cardston. We came out against the provincial champions and gave them a run for their money. We just fell a little short. They had a little run and we were catching up for the rest of the game,” Peterson said. “We looked good. We showed people that we can compete against the best of the best.”
Peterson led the Blues with 12 points, including three three-pointers. White drained 11 points and Noah deSa scored nine, in addition to two threes and four steals.
In the third-place match the Blues were silenced 77-59 by the Magrath Zeniths. The Blues never recovered from a 21-8 deficit after the first quarter and at halftime trailed 40-20.
Peterson racked up four threes and 18 points overall.
Shep, the tournament winners by a 69-59 score against Cardston, quickly put the Blues behind the eight-ball Monday with 12 points in the opening six minutes before Peterson’s turnaround jumper put the home team on the board.
Shep led 18-8 after the first quarter, 37-19 at halftime and 55-37 after three quarters.
“We came out a little soft but we pulled it together,” Peterson said. “We bonded as a team to come back from the deficit at halftime. We didn't quit on each other.”
Block’s field goal with 4:01 left in the third quarter pulled the Blues to within six at 40-34, but Shep recovered to pull farther ahead.
“We were playing catch-up trying to soften the lead but we just couldn't put it away,” Peterson said. “They’re subbing Grade 12s and we’re subbing Grade 10s but it will come. We’re a young team. We’ll get it together eventually.”
White tossed in 13 points, Block was credited with seven and Peterson wired four threes in the loss.
Peterson, 16, has embraced the team’s leadership role as one of seven returnees from last season’s eight losses in premier.
“I’m talking lots, getting the guys going and providing moral support and spirit on the floor. I’m the energy guy I guess,” said the six-foot-four offensive force. “I’m definitely looking to score more than last year but mostly I just want to push the ball and get things going and help the team out as best I can.”
Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the Blues host the Strathcona Lords.
The Paul Kane varsity women’s team lost the final of the Totem Hoop Classic to the Spruce Grove Panthers 68-54.
The Blues beat Strathcona 64-46 and in the semifinals toppled McGrath 77-45.
Monday in the metro opener the Blues thumped Shep 75-49 at Paul Kane.
Today at 5 p.m. the Blues host Strathcona.
Last season the Blues finished 5-8 overall in premier.