Skyhawks finish strong
Fourth quarter run propels Skyhawks to victory over Bev Facey in high school women's basketball
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am
The St. Albert Skyhawks rose to the challenge with the game on the line to knock off the Bev Facey Falcons in high school women’s basketball.
The Skyhawks kept the previously undefeated Falcons off the scoreboard in the last 8:47 minutes of Wednesday’s metro Edmonton division one contest while sinking 16 straight points to win 48-33 at the SkyDome.
“We did a good finishing on a positive note,” said Jessa Ivicak, a Grade 11 guard/forward for the No. 2-ranked 4A team in Alberta.
The Skyhawks dialed it up defensively to generate points off turnovers after the Falcons opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with their fifth three pointer of the game to regain the lead at 33-32.
“We worked as a team and not as individuals,” Ivicak said. “We stayed low and didn’t give them the middle. Our help defence and communication was also strong.”
Riki Steward’s basket put the Skyhawks back on top and Marinya Marcichiw drained a pair of shots during an 88-second span to make it 38-33 with 6:05 to play.
Marcichiw, who scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the second half, pulled off a slick jumper in the paint in tight quarters after initially missing a layup in traffic.
Marcichiw would later cap off a great play after Brielle Wise intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and fed the ball to Jamie Cole, who quickly distributed it to the Grade 11 standout to salt away.
Less than two minutes later, Sam Dargis drained a shot and Wise’s free throw with 4:10 remaining padded the lead to eight points.
“Everyone had a positive attitude,” Ivicak said of the team’s turnaround in the low-scoring affair. “Running the floor also helped. Pushing the ball hard helps us against good teams.”
The Skyhawks got off to a rocky start against the Falcons (4-1), ranked ninth in 4A, as the teams scored at a junior high pace in the first half. A 10-9 Skyhawks’ lead after the first quarter turned into a 20-19 deficit at halftime.
“We did good on defence but on offence we needed to push the ball and execute our plays,” said Ivicak, a five-foot-seven physical force who contributed five points and tough defence in the win. “We needed to be more consistent because that's how SACHS usually is.”
Steward and Wise finished with eight points apiece. Wise was also the top rebounder.
The night before the Skyhawks struggled against the Edmonton Christian Lions (1-4), ranked fourth in 3A, before escaping with a 62-58 overtime decision.
“That was a nerve-wracking game,” Ivicak said. “We weren't really into that game. We were just going through the motions. We had the attitude that we were going to win. We should’ve come out stronger for that game.”
Ivicak and Marcichiw combined for five points in the final 66 seconds to turn a five-point deficit into a 50-50 deadlock at the end of regulation time.
“Our momentum going into overtime really carried us,” Ivicak said.
Marcichiw dropped in 16 points and Wise added 14 against the team’s biggest threat in recent years in the 3A Edmonton zone elimination tournament.
After winning a historic fourth-straight 3A provincial banner, as well as three of the last four metro Edmonton premier (now division one) championships with undefeated records as the only 3A team in the conference, the Skyhawks are spreading their wings in 4A.
“It’s pretty exciting, especially going a step up from 3A,” said Ivicak, one of seven returning Skyhawks on the 10-player roster. “Our ranking (in 4A) is a good thing. It says that we’re ready to go up to 4A.”
The Skyhawks are 3-1 in league play and 9-1 overall after an incredible 39-1 run last season as winners of five out of six tournaments.
“It’s been really good, especially without Kayla. It’s made us stronger and we don't always have to rely on the better players,” Ivicak said of her sister, Kayla, a Grade 12 stalwart who suffered a left ankle injury in late November at the provincial volleyball championships for the 3A silver medallists.
The first game back for the Skyhawks’ co-captain was Tuesday at Edmonton Christian and against the Falcons she scored six points in the first half before leaving the game.
This weekend the Skyhawks are competing at the Chinook Coyote tournament in Lethbridge and their first game Friday was against the Cardston Cougars, ranked 10th in 4A. The score was unavailable at press time.
The eight-team draw features four schools ranked top-10 in 4A, including the No. 1 Coyotes, plus the McCoy Colts of Medicine Hat, the No. 1-ranked 3A team who lost the last three provincial finals to the Skyhawks.
Last month the Skyhawks were victorious at the 32nd annual REB tournament at Jasper Place High School and the 16th annual Mike Dea Classic at St. Francis Xavier High School.
“This tournament will give us a look at who we’re going to play in provincials. It will give us a different perspective compared to playing Edmonton teams only,” said Ivicak, 16.