By CHARLES TWEED
The atmosphere was electric in the Ponoka Composite High School Gym on Feb. 8.
With two minutes remaining in fourth quarter Josie Teitge drilled a 20-footer to put the Broncs up 45-41 over the Lacombe Rams — the gym erupted.
The Rams would answer back promptly, after some quick ball movement ended up in the hands of their low post, an easy lay up cut the Broncs lead to two.
Ponoka called a timeout to gather the troops.
During the timeout, coach Jody McElroy drew up a complex screen-play — that worked to perfection —and got the ball in the hands of Danielle Davies for an open look. Davies launched a shot from just inside the three-point line that clanged off the rim and rattled out.
The ball would eventually go the other way where Lacombe hit a triple to grab the lead 46-45.
With the gym in a frenzy, the Ponoka squad tightened up. After a failed pass by Victoria Rose found its way out of bounds, it was Lacombe’s ball with under a minute remaining.
Rose wouldn’t let the blunder deter her.
She quickly got in the face of the Lacombe player and managed to swat down the inbound, get a hold of the ball and throw up a shot. The shot missed, but her hard work didn’t go unrewarded as a foul was called on the play.
With Broncs down one, Rose calmly stepped up —with the gym holding its collective breath — and made the first free throw to tie the game at 46.
With a chance to put Ponoka ahead, the second free throw missed and went quickly the other way, where the Rams scored to regain the lead by two, 48-46.
Ponoka would have several opportunities in the dying seconds to tie the game up but failed to get the crucial basket — falling to the Rams by two.
“I was very impressed with how fast my girls came out, and how they never gave up on defense. I wish we could have made some of the easy lay ups we had, part of the loss was our inability to finish on the offensive side of the ball,” said McElroy.
Next followed the senior Bronc boys’ team. It would be a stiff test for Ponoka, who were taking on a Lacombe team ranked number 4 in the province among 3A schools.
After a slow start, the Broncs went on an 11-2 run, tying the game at 15 partway through the second quarter.
It wouldn’t be enough.
Lacombe presented too many size mismatches — particularly six-foot-eight centre Shayne Stumpf —and defeated the Broncs 66-42.
Ponoka got contributions from Colin Horan, leading the way with 15 points and five rebounds.
Kirby Dool chipped in with 10 points and Luuk Thijssen had six.
“They are the number 4 ranked team in the province and they played like it — confident and hungry. We were a bit timid and lacked the energy needed to challenge them. It’s a bit disappointing but we’ll regroup and come back fighting,” said coach Blaine Haines.