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Skyhawks zone in

Men's basketball team dribbles towards provincials

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 06:00 am

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  • PUSHING THROUGH - Drew Bragg of the St. Albert Skyhawks brushes past a defender in Tuesday's metro Edmonton division two game against the Spruce Grove Panthers at the SkyDome. The Skyhawks won 55-46.
    PUSHING THROUGH - Drew Bragg of the St. Albert Skyhawks brushes past a defender in Tuesday's metro Edmonton division two game against the Spruce Grove Panthers at the SkyDome. The Skyhawks won 55-46.
    APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette
  • BALL HAWK - Carter McCorriston of the St. Albert Skyhawks controls the ball in Tuesday's 55-46 win against the Spruce Grove Panthers in metro Edmonton division two action at the SkyDome.
    BALL HAWK - Carter McCorriston of the St. Albert Skyhawks controls the ball in Tuesday's 55-46 win against the Spruce Grove Panthers in metro Edmonton division two action at the SkyDome.

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The St. Albert Skyhawks are in the mix as Edmonton zone contenders for the 3A provincials in high school men's basketball.

The No. 2-ranked Edmonton Christian Lions are the only zone team listed ahead of the Skyhawks, an honourable mention with the Sturgeon Spirits and St. Peter The Apostle Spartans in the 3A provincial rankings.

“We’re doing pretty darn well competing to get our name out there. We’ve had a very strong season,” said Andrew Salcedo, co-captain of the 9-4 Skyhawks. “We’ve got to worry about our league playoffs first but definitely it’s all coming down to zones for provincials. I think our peak will hopefully be around there and we’ll be able to come out swinging.”

Last year ended on a sour note with two losses at zones (79-78 to the Lions in the A final and 71-67 to the Leduc Tigers in the B final) and provincial berths on the line in both games.

“We want to push to that zone final like last year,” said Salcedo, a six-foot-two Grade 11 workhorse at power forward. “We always want to get to provincials, but especially this year because we’ve got a lot of guys leaving.”

The Skyhawks lost eight players to graduation from the team’s fifth-place showing at the 2012 provincials.

“Last year we had a really good shot at provincials but came up short unfortunately,” Salcedo said of the Skyhawks, ranked seventh prior to zones. “We have a good chance at pushing for provincials again, we just have to keep focused every day in practice and really work on our defence, which is the focus for the whole team. If we get stops the offence will come.”

In the metro Edmonton league the Skyhawks are regrouping in division two after a stint in the premier conference (now division one).

“Development-wise we’re definitely in the right spot. We’re getting guys minutes and we’re able to work things out easier,” Salcedo said. “We have a lot of young guys that work their butts off every time they come out on the floor and it’s really great to see.”

Tuesday in league play in pool B the Skyhawks posted a 55-46 win over the Spruce Grove Panthers (2-3) at the SkyDome.

The Skyhawks led 15-11 after the first quarter, 33-23 at halftime and 47-30 after three quarters.

“We came out steady but kind of slow. It took us a while to get into it but once we started focusing more on getting stops the offence found us,” said Salcedo, the top scorer with 16 points. “We were able to get into a groove better in the second and third and then we kind of slowed down a bit in the fourth, like in the first, but we refocused and got our minds in the right places and kind of finished the game off in a good way.”

Co-captain Dayn Scaber sank 13 points, including three of the team’s five three-pointers, and Jordan Morrison also tossed in 13.

Salcedo, 16, described the win as a typical performance by the team.

“We’re really good at making sure the opposition doesn’t score as much as they do against other teams and that’s why defence is one of our strongest aspects,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of scorers on our team as well, so by focusing on defence the scorers get the opportunity to do their thing on the offensive side.”

The second-year Skyhawk has embraced his role as the team’s floor general.

“I want to lead by example. I want to be the first one to do things. In practice I want to be the first in line for doing layups or whatever. I want to get there first,” said Salcedo, a junior high standout with the 2012 SAPEC city champion Richard S. Fowler Falcons.

“Offensive strength is another one of my roles, as well as versatility to get those stops down low and get rebounds as well.”

FREE THROWS: The Skyhawks dropped to 3-2 in league play in Thursday’s 56-54 loss to the Spartans (4-0) at the SkyDome.

The next game is Tuesday against the Oscar Romero Ravens (0-5) at 5 p.m.

The Skyhawks Invitational Tournament tips off Friday with eight teams entered. At 12:30 p.m. the Skyhawks play the Archbishop Jordan Scots.

The Strathcona Christian Academy Eagles, Fort McMurray Miners, West Central of Rocky Mountain House and the Lions, Spartans and Panthers round out the draw.

Saturday’s final is 8:15 p.m.

A portion of the teams’ tournament entry fees will go to the Hawks Have Heart fundraiser. Donations will also be accepted at the door.

The fundraiser honours Amanda Bruneau, the sister-in-law of Skyhawks’ head coach and teacher, Evan Holstein. Bruneau died Jan. 18 at age 19 with a rare type of cancer called adrenocortical carcinoma.

Several fundraising events at St. Albert Catholic High School are also scheduled in February in support of Hawks Have Heart.

Visit www.albertacancer.ca/hawkshaveheart for more information.


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