The St. Albert Skyhawks will have to wait until the new year to win their first game of the season in metro Edmonton high school basketball.
The Skyhawks are 0-4 in the division two senior men’s league after falling short to the Bellerose Bulldogs 70-64 last week.
“We need to turn the chapter,” said Ben Loewen, a Grade 12 Skyhawk. “It’s got to start now.”
Previous losses were 70-63 against the M.E. Lazerte Voyageurs (3-0), 91-61 to the Spruce Grove Panthers (3-0) and 85-59 to the Oscar Romero Ravens (3-1).
“We’ve had a tough start in league so we were kind of hoping to get a win to have a happy note before the break,” said Loewen of the team’s last game before the holidays.
The Skyhawks trailed 17-12 at the end of the first quarter, 36-33 at halftime and 55-48 after three quarters.
“It was a close game. We both had moments of good but also bad though,” Loewen said. “Overall this was probably one of our better executed league games this year.”
Credit the Skyhawks from rebounding from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter while outscored 19-15 to trail by seven entering the fourth quarter.
“We just tried to stop them and chip away at their points,” Loewen said.
DeAmonte Overman’s three-pointer with 1:41 to play and Loewen’s field goal 28 seconds later pulled the Skyhawks to within three of the Bulldogs but were unable to produce any more points.
“Overall they shot better. We had a tough time shooting outside of the key. That was our big issue. We couldn’t really hit any shots outside,” said Loewen, who tossed in nine points in a row in the third quarter.
The six-foot-two post finished with a game-high 15 points.
Justin Akkerman, Tylar Dobish and Josh Dryland pumped in 10 points apiece and Overman netted six.
The difference between winning and losing for the Skyhawks is defence.
“Defence is the biggest problem but it also wins us games,” Loewen said. “Our game is defence and we really pride ourselves on that but we’re just having a tough time with that and we need to really get together as a group and all buy into our defence.”
Loewen, 17, is among seven returnees from the 7-3 team in league play and as the third Edmonton zone rep ranked ninth in the 12-team 3A provincial draw won its last two games to place ninth at 2-1. It was also the first provincials for the men’s team since 2012.
“We’ve got a lot of Grade 12s and a couple of new rookies and we’ve bonded well so far. We really take pride in that bond and just really care for each other on and off the court like brothers,” Loewen said.
The Skyhawks, who found success on the B-side of the draw at the recent Strathcona Christian Academy tournament, resume league play Jan. 8 against the host Queen Elizabeth Knights (2-2) at 5:30 p.m. and the first home game of the season is Jan. 15 against the McNally Tigers (1-3) at 6:30 p.m. at the SkyDome.
“We just have to keep banging away,” said Loewen of ending the team’s losing streak.