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Hoop dreams for lady Blues

Winning season for Paul Kane basketball team

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2014 06:00 am

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  • LOOKING TO SCORE - Julia Nicholson of the Paul Kane Blues attempts a shot against Krista Bruce of the Archbishop Jordan Scots at the Skyhawks Invitational Tournament on Thursday at Paul Kane. Nicholson scored 11 points in the 79-60 win.
    LOOKING TO SCORE - Julia Nicholson of the Paul Kane Blues attempts a shot against Krista Bruce of the Archbishop Jordan Scots at the Skyhawks Invitational Tournament on Thursday at Paul Kane. Nicholson scored 11 points in the 79-60 win.
    APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette
  • SUDDEN IMPACT - Kaitlyn Hunder of the Paul Kane Blues charges into a defender in Thursday's 79-60 win over the Archbishop Jordan Scots at the Skyhawks Invitational Tournament.
    SUDDEN IMPACT - Kaitlyn Hunder of the Paul Kane Blues charges into a defender in Thursday's 79-60 win over the Archbishop Jordan Scots at the Skyhawks Invitational Tournament.

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The Paul Kane Blues are headed in the right direction towards a winning season in high school women’s basketball.

The surprising Blues raised their overall record to 11-4 after polishing off the Archbishop Jordan Scots 79-60 Thursday at the Skyhawks Invitational Tournament at Paul Kane.

The Blues are also a stellar 5-0 for second place in the metro Edmonton division one standings.

“We’re really excited about our season,” said Tiana Woyewitka, a Grade 12 wing. “Ideally we would like to make it to city finals and win and then make it to provincials as well.”

The Blues, a 4A honourable mention for the second time this season, haven’t shown this much promise and potential since 2011 as premier (now division one) finalists.

Woyewitka, one of six returnees from last year’s 5-8 premier campaign and opening round playoff loss, credits the team’s cohesiveness for its winning ways.

“Everybody works together unbelievably well. You can tell when a team has really good chemistry, it makes a huge difference and you saw that with our team throughout the whole first half of the season,” she said.

In the first game after the exam break the Blues finished on a high note by outscoring ABJ 41-27 in the second half, including a 27-13 margin in the third quarter.

“We started off a little sloppy. Our offence was pretty good right from the beginning but our defence was really bad,” Woyewitka said. “As it went on we kind of realized that ABJ wanted it a lot after we beat them the first time (53-39 Jan. 7 at Paul Kane) so if we wanted to win it we had to pick it up. We did that and I’m really proud of everybody on our team.”

ABJ, 0-4 in division one play, sank four of its six three-pointers in the first half but struggled shooting free throws throughout the foul-plagued affair. The Blues were whistled for 13 fouls in the first half, compared to 10 for ABJ. The game ended with 23 fouls for the Blues, including five to rugged Grade 12 post Julie Fagan, and 18 for ABJ.

Woyewitka, 17, made a triumphant return to the lineup after a lower body injury by draining a team-high 19 points.

“I was happy but I still think I have a ways to go. Anybody who comes back from an injury always says that after their first game but I will work on it. I will get there,” said Woyewitka, who scored 12 points in the second half.

Sydney Hurlburt tossed in 14 points on the strength of two three-pointers in the third quarter. Julia Nicholson and Rachel McIntyre added 11 apiece and Janell Desharnais and Kaitlyn Hunder each had seven.

It was a solid bounce back game for the Blues after tournament losses of 62-51 to the Balfour Collegiate Redmen of Regina and 65-48 to the Dr. E.P. Scarlett Lancers of Calgary, ranked ninth in 4A, to finish fourth at the Paul Kane Invitational.

“We went into the exam break after a couple of bad games. We didn't play very good so the break was good,” Woyewitka said. “We also had a couple of good practices and workouts so I think those really helped us.”

In Friday’s semifinal at the SkyDome the Blues played the Bev Facey Falcons (4-1 in metro), ranked seventh in 4A, or the unranked 4A St. Francis Xavier Rams (2-2 in metro). The score was unavailable at press time.

The Blues are back on the court today at the SkyDome in the third-place game at 5 p.m. or the 7 p.m. final.

A win Friday would set the stage for a potential showdown against the St. Albert Skyhawks in today’s final. It’s the most wicked high school basketball rivalry in St. Albert right now.

Last season the Skyhawks whipped the Blues 83-54 and 80-41.

The last time the Blues upset the Skyhawks was the 2011 premier semifinal, 75-66 at the SkyDome.

Tuesday the teams will square-off in league play at 6:30 p.m. at the SkyDome.

“We’re excited to try and play them,” Woyewitka said. “Ideally, for me personally, I would like to play them on Tuesday but to play them (in the final) would give us a good heads up of what to expect and I think we can show them how much we’ve improved since last year. I’m sure they don't think that we’re a 5-0 team so to be able to come out and show them why we are would be really good.”


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