Fan turnout for the first ever Ponoka vs Ponoka high school basketball league game was high.
With the Ponoka Secondary Campus Broncs hosting the St. Augustine School Kings and Queens Dec. 12, the excitement in the air was palpable. The campus was ready for the fans with a raffle that gave the winners a couch seat with popcorn along the baseline.
While there was excitement among fans, there was some trepidation amongst the teams as they had never played each other before and many of the players are also friends with each other. And for coaches on both sides of the court they were excited about the start of what could be a fun rivalry in Ponoka, plus the large turnout was something both coaches and players appreciated.
The Broncs girls and boys teams dominated the evening with the boys defeating the Kings 71-38 and the girls defeating the Queens 59-29.
Boys coach Scott Brown said the attendance and intensity of the crowd was an exciting element for the team. “The atmosphere in here was something we haven’t felt in a long time.”
At one point he said the team couldn’t even hear what they were saying to each other. Unsure how the game was going to go, Brown said the Broncs pushed hard in the first quarter to gain a strong lead. That strategy worked and helped them through the rest of the game.
“We knew that if we let them in it could be a tough game at the end,” said Brown of the Kings’ stamina.
He added that having more games this season than the Kings also helped.
Broncs girls coach Paula Chapman was pleased with her team. That being said the goal was to play well but in the end to not have bad feelings.
“At the same time it’s a sport and you want to go out there and have bragging rights,” said Chapman, adding that she sees it as a friendly rivalry.
She was pleased with the strong communication on her team as well as athletes’ intensity and a full court press. “In my opinion it was defense that won that game for us.”
Kings and Queens
For the Kings and Queens, a win was not in the cards. Both teams are relatively young compared to the Broncs and that gap in experience proved a struggle during the games.
Kings coach Adam Bowie felt his team needed to experience an excited atmosphere like the one they were in to add to their experience.
In the second half of the boys’ game, fans got louder and more excited as they supported their favourite team. It was electric.
“They need to be able to play with that,” said Bowie. “And they stepped up, so that was good.”
There was a lot of learning and handling nerves in this game, he added. Despite that challenge, there were some moments of strong defense and offensive plays that, had they completed shots, the margin would have been less.
Bowie hopes they have a chance to play against each other again to see how his team has improved.
Queens coach Ryan Roos said they went into the game with an open mind.
That being said, he has seen the Broncs girls play in the junior program and he knew there would be an uphill battle. What he was pleased with was seeing his team play with intensity. It was turnovers that hurt them overall.
“This is the first time they’ve played man-to-man a lot of them and I just ran over a brief man offense with them yesterday,” explained Roos, of their learning curve.
He sees it as an opportunity for growth and looks forward to their development through the season.