Senior Broncs of Ponoka Secondary Campus won the championship in last weekend’s Pump Classic basketball tournament in a nail-biter game, only for the third time in the 23-year history of the annual competition.
Broncs played their first round robin game against Grand Prairie on Friday afternoon, Dec. 13 and won the game without having to make a huge effort in the face of an obviously weaker opponent. Broncs’ effective rebounding and ball movement allowed the local boys to win comfortably with a score of 78-54.
Their second game on Saturday morning against Springbank Phoenix proved, luckily, to be an even easier one as it allowed the Broncs to save some energy for the finals against the Wetaskiwin Sabres in the evening. The hosts again scored 78 points against Phoenix and allowed them only 39.
The championship final on Saturday evening was played in front of a packed crowd representing both Ponoka and Wetaskiwin fans.
The game started with the pressure of a championship final apparently affecting both teams’ performances.
In the first period, Sabres gained and opened a lead up to five points at some point, but Broncs were quick to consolidate their defense and put a lot of pressure on the opponents offensive effort to close the lead.
The second and third periods were spent without either of the sides managing to impose their pace to the opponents.
This led to an obvious drought in scoring: When the third period ended, both teams had scored only about 30 points.
Four minutes into the fourth period, with an impressive effort, the Broncs brought balance to the scoreboard at 36 for each side. At that moment, a three- pointer by Ethan Minde gave the PSC boys the lead and they never looked back.
In the remaining minutes, Broncs, with an increased confidence and commitment, improved their ball movement and substantially increased the pace of the game producing more points. When the final buzzer went off, it was 50-42 in favor the hosts.
“This tournament has a reputation of being very competitive and hard to win,” said Blaine Haines, the Broncs’ coach.
“To say this was a very satisfying win would be greatly understated,” he added. “As a coach I was thrilled for my team and very proud of their efforts throughout the tournament.”