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Blues red hot on court

As playoffs approach, both Paul Kane senior teams are eyeing championships in the Metro Edmonton Athletics league.
Paul Kane Blues athletes Syd Vollrath (left) and Alanna Missins (right) crash the offensive glass in a Metro Edmonton Athletics game against Archbishop O'Leary.

The senior girls and senior boys teams from the Paul Kane Blues basketball program are heading into playoffs with impressive winning records in Division 1 of the Metro Edmonton Athletics league. And while both squads have put up stellar numbers this winter, the path to the playoffs has been filled with adversity.

The senior girls team, who are currently undefeated in league play with eight wins and zero losses, persevered through a long list of injuries to achieve their successes on the scoreboard.

“We have had a challenging year,” pointed out head coach Nate Kerr. “We have had concussions , knee injuries , ankle injuries, the flu — you name it, we have experienced it this year. We have only had our full roster for about 3 games.”

To get through these tough stretches, Kerr says the Lady Blues have pulled together without losing their confidence on the court.

“This group has done a tremendous job supporting and uplifting one another at various points in the season. They show up each day as one collective group, not as a bunch of individuals chasing stats or personal accolades.”

And while the Blues’ impeccable record might suggest a stern and rigid approach to competition, Kerr says he wants his team to build lasting memories without getting too hung up on outcomes — especially in the postseason.

“I would hope they get to experience a level of success they can think back on and smile — an experience that brings them joy,” said Kerr. “I know our captains will read this and say the group has a strong desire to take PK back to provincials. They want to reach that stage and test themselves, not to focus on the glam or the wins and losses, but to get there and walk away knowing they gave it their all.”

The senior boys team has won 7 out of 10 league games and is tied for second place in Division 1 of the Metro Edmonton Athletics league, most recently besting Harry Ainlay 87-78 last Wednesday.

All of those wins were hard fought, and head coach Evan Eger has been thoroughly impressed with his team’s creativity and resolve in critical situations. 

“One of our strengths is having a great knack for winning games,” said Eger, himself a Paul Kane alumni. “We have had a few games not go our way, but when games come down to the wire, we know how to win.” 

Their winning record notwithstanding, staying healthy has also been a significant challenge for Paul Kane’s boys.

“​​You have stretches of time that are very busy with games, so keeping everyone in game shape is always difficult,” noted Eger. 

The Metro Edmonton Athletics’ top boys division is extremely tight, and there are a number of squads that will be tough to make it past in playoffs, like first-place Strathcona, and also Holy Trinity, with whom the Blues are currently tied for second-place.

“Our league this year is extremely competitive. Every game could be won or lost if you don't put in the work and come ready to compete,” said Eger.

Still, Eger and his team have their sights set on a big result in the coming weeks.

“Our expectation is to make the finals and win. Throughout the season, we have had struggles at times against the top ranked teams in the province, but we believe in our talent and what we can achieve. We want to win a city title, go to provincials, and then make a splash like no Paul Kane team has done since 2008.”

Playoffs will begin on Monday, February 27th. A comprehensive schedule and list of results is available on the Metro Athletics website.