The Bellerose Bulldogs stand unequaled as the lone undefeated St. Albert team in metro Edmonton high school basketball.
The 11th win in a row for the lady Bulldogs was Monday’s division three playoff at Bellerose.
“Being undefeated this year makes us all super happy,” said captain Taylar Kosloski after the 52-27 result against the Louis St. Laurent Barons.
The Bulldogs are poised to go the distance after falling short in last year’s final.
“I just hope we don’t choke and I’m confident we won’t. We’ve worked hard all year for this and we all really want it,” said Kosloski, a Grade 12 post and one of six returnees from last year’s 8-4 team on the 14-player roster.
The Bulldogs are two wins away from joining the 2001 city conference team as the only senior women’s metro basketball champions in Bellerose history.
“It would be so exciting for us because it’s always been like oh it’s just the girls and they’re not very good but this year we have a chance to show our school and our boys (team) that we are a good basketball team,” Kosloski said.
Today’s semifinal against the J. Percy Page Panthers (7-4) tips off at 5:30 p.m. at Bellerose and the winner battles the Lillian Osborne Legends (8-3) or Parkland Immanuel Penguins (6-5) in Saturday’s final at 4 p.m. at Jasper Place.
The Bulldogs downed the Panthers 65-49 in the second game of the season.
The Panthers pulled off a mini upset in Monday’s 58-53 playoff decision against the Austin O’Brien Crusaders (6-5), the same team the Bulldogs beat by a point in league play.
“We’ll be comfortable with either team we face. We’re ready for either of them,” said Kosloski, when asked what team the Bulldogs would like to face in the semifinals.
The best game so far for the Bulldogs was 48-44 at Lillian Osborne for win No. 8.
“We took that game to overtime so we had to dig in that extra amount. We had to pull out a win so it was a good team win for us,” Kosloski said.
Another signature moment for the Bulldogs was the Feb. 12 grudge match against the M.E. Lazerte Voyageurs (3-7) after losing last year’s division three final 52-43 to the 7-5 Voyageurs.
“We felt the heat. We wanted to win. We did not want them to have another win over us,” said Kosloski of the 57-34 outcome at Bellerose.
The Bulldogs have shown marked improvement since last year’s surge of six consecutive victories before the loss in the final.
“We have more speed and we have more people who are able to put the ball in the hoop when we need it to be in the hoop and we have a lot of really good Grade 10s which is good for the future of our team,” Kosloski said. “We’re also a really good defensive team. We have a lot of people who can rebound the ball and we have a lot of steals during games.”
The Bulldogs have come a long way from the 3-5 division two pool B team in the 2015/16 regular season.
“In Grade 10 we barely won any games and now after three years of hard work and a new coaching staff (head coach Triawna St. Germaine and assistant Jeet Jermana) we have a better team vibe now,” said Kosloski, 17.
The tallest Bulldog at six-foot-one was a calming influence defensively against the Barons (3-8) with multiple rebounds at both ends of the court.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Kelly Reid’s 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Amber Harvey also tossed in 10 points and Zoe Zurowski added nine.
The Bulldogs outscored the Barons 11-6 in the third quarter on the strength of a nine-point run for the 35-18 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
The score in league play was 51-30 over the Barons last month at Bellerose.
Division two men
The Bulldogs knocked off the Oscar Romero Ravens 80-71 in Monday’s division two senior men’s quarter-final at Bellerose.
The Ravens (5-7) are ninth in the 3A provincial rankings.
Today’s semifinal between the Bulldogs (8-4) and Voyageurs (11-1) at Lazerte starts at 5:30 p.m.
The Voyageurs defeated the Bulldogs 71-64 at Bellerose in the last game before the playoffs.
The winner plays the Spruce Grove Panthers (12-0) or Millwoods Christian Royals (8-4) in Friday’s final at 8 p.m. at Jasper Place.
The Panthers subdued the St. Albert Skyhawks (4-8) by a score of 80-71 in Monday’s quarter-final at Spruce Grove.
The Bulldogs are striving to secure the first senior men’s basketball banner in school history and the last appearance in a metro final was 2006 in the city conference.
Last year’s Bulldogs finished 9-1 after the 80-76 division two quarter-final loss to Romero at Bellerose.