The lead up to the senior girls’ Broncs final basketball series proved to be one that the team will remember for many years.
Getting to the finals is a story in itself as the Broncs had to defeat the Camrose Trojans at home Monday, March 7.
Victory was anything but secure; at the end of the second half the Broncs were tied at 24 points each with the Trojans unwilling to give up. Camrose played an aggressive second half double-teaming point guard Allie Wynychuk forcing her to pass.
Coach Cameron Horan said they changed tactics against Camrose and while the game was somewhat “Helter Skelter” the Broncs managed to play through it all and take control of the majority of their plays.
Heavy pressure gave the Broncs some struggles but they adjusted their offense to create open lanes. The extra heavy Trojans’ defense created a loose defense system under their own net and the Broncs took advantage of that scoring some easy layups.
Not to be dissuaded, the Trojans also scored important points with several three point shots.
With two and a half minutes left, the Trojans managed to tie the game. The last few minutes were a blur of fouls, missed shots, time-outs and a several important sunk foul shots. The Broncs managed to squeak by with a 56-54 win.
“I got a little bit more grey hair in that game,” said Horan of the experience.
Finals vs Wetaskiwin
The finals series proved the toughest challenge the girls faced.
The first of the best of three series was held at home March 9 against the Wetaskiwin Sabres. The last time the Broncs played the Sabres, they had lost by 21 points. Everyone knew what was at stake.
Their biggest struggle was in missed baskets. The Broncs had several important opportunities to sink the ball but it couldn’t quite make the mark.
After the half, the Broncs were down 26-14. Rather than give up, the girls kept up the pressure. They kept chipping away at the points deficit and were able to bring it down to eight points.
As the last quarter wore down, so did their energy and the Sabres clawed their way up to a 48-34 win.
The second game in the series was held in Wetaskiwin March 11 and the girls put up a show that had Wetaskiwin fans impressed, said Horan.
A win was in their sites.
“What really makes it unfortunate is we were up by 11,” he explained.
The second half, however, was what broke the Broncs’ chance at a win. Horan said the Sabres slowly dropped the deficit and managed to take a two-point lead by the fourth quarter using a full-court press.
Seeing their lead dissapear affected the Broncs’ confidence, which in turn hurt their shots on net. The Broncs ended losing by 10 points.
Despite the loss, the Broncs showed an overall improvement against the Sabres and Horan praised his team. Comparing the start of the season to the end he said players got continually improved.
He too had a learning curve and he credits the team for helping him get there. Horan said at the start of the season he had some expectations that didn’t meld well with the team. He said it was their guidance on the team’s offense after their second season game that he changed tactics.
“I had a massive learning curve,” said Horan.
He said the learning went both ways this season.