Skyhawks start strong
Basketball team tips-off season with five straight wins
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 06:00 am
Jasper Place – The St. Albert Skyhawks haven’t missed a beat after rocking the rim last season as a powerhouse in high school women’s basketball.
The fifth win in a row and the 16th straight, dating back to the team’s historic 39-1 run as the four-time 3A provincial and two-time metro Edmonton premier conference champions in 2013, was Thursday’s 68-54 decision against the St. Mary’s Saints of Calgary at the 32nd annual REB tournament at Jasper Place High School.
“Our goal is to get better and improve on offence and defence,” said co-captain Isabelle Durocher. “We’re starting to work better as a team and we’re getting better every day, every game, every practice.”
The 12-point margin of victory was closer than the Skyhawks had hoped.
“It wasn’t our best for sure. We can do better but we still won,” Durocher said.
It was a done deal after the first quarter. A 12-point run pushed the Skyhawks into a commanding 20-8 lead as Grade 11 post Marinya Marcichiw scored seven of her team-high 24 points in the opening 10 minutes.
The Saints closed the gap to 36-23 at halftime and after three quarters trailed 55-41.
“We came out hard in the first quarter and then we kind of slowed down a bit but we picked it up after half and we played pretty good,” Durocher said. “We played better on offence in the second half.”
Jessa Ivicak drained 10 points, Brielle Wise added eight and Durocher had seven as the Skyhawks advanced to Friday’s semifinal against Virden Collegiate Golden Bears of Manitoba. The score was unavailable at press time.
Today the Skyhawks play in the third-place game at 2:15 p.m. or the 6 p.m. final.
Visit www.rebinvitational.com for results.
It’s the second of six tournaments on tap for the Skyhawks in preparation for the 4A provincials in March.
“It’s cool to see other competition like this,” said Durocher, a tiny but tenacious Grade 12 guard who popped in a three-pointer to make it 64-50 with 5:09 to play.
Last weekend the Skyhawks tipped off their season by winning the 16th annual Mike Dea Classic at St. Francis Xavier High School. In the final they beat the Dr. Martin LeBoldus Golden Suns of Regina, winners of the last two Mike Dea tournaments, 95-88.
Marcichiw averaged 18.6 points in three wins as the tournament MVP and Wise received all-star honours.
“It’s pretty good to win our first tournament. It showed what we can do and we just hope to improve a lot more,” Durocher said.
Monday in the league opener Wise tacked up 21 points and Marcichiw chipped in with 20 in the 76-40 rout of the Strathcona Lords in Edmonton.
“It wasn’t our best game but it was still pretty good. We played hard,” said Durocher, 17.
Wednesday’s game at the Archbishop MacDonald Marauders was postponed.
Monday at 5 p.m. the Skyhawks host the Spruce Grove Panthers, winners of the 21st annual Totem Hoop Classic who played the Raymond Comets in Friday’s semifinal at the REB tournament.
The Panthers will be a good measuring stick to see how the Skyhawks stack up against top-calibre 4A teams. After dominating the 3A ranks, as well as the metro league while repeating as undefeated premier champions as the only 3A team in the conference, the Skyhawks have their sights set on 4A provincial glory.
“It’s going to be good. We’re going to step it up a lot and hopefully we win,” said Durocher, a graduate of the first female premier junior championship basketball team in school history in 2012.
FREE THROWS: The junior Skyhawks won their first game at the REB tournament by blowing out the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds 91-31 Thursday.
Friday’s semifinal result against the Harry Ainlay Titans was unavailable at press time.
Today the Skyhawks hoop it up in the third-place game at 2:15 p.m. or the 4 p.m. final.
Earlier this week the two-time reigning metro premier junior champions won their league lid-lifter 79-41 at Archbishop MacDonald.
The team’s home opener is Tuesday versus the Salisbury Sabres at 6:30 p.m.