(left) Junior Kings' John Baldovino makes a layup against the École Camille J. Lerouge Voyageurs Friday

(left) Junior Kings' John Baldovino makes a layup against the École Camille J. Lerouge Voyageurs Friday

Junior Kings and Queens put best foot forward at Shine tournament

St Augustine's junior girls and boys basketball teams host their own tournament.

Despite being outperformed at their Shine tournament over the weekend, St Augustine’s junior girls’ and boys’ basketball teams made some serious improvements in their game.

The boys first game was Friday, Jan. 15 against École Camille J. Lerouge Voyageurs in what became a heated and close matchup. The Kings were fired up in front of a home crowd, playing with vigour and strength.

Their youthfulness belied their skills taking shots deep in the Voyageurs’ key or from outside under heavy pressure. Their full court press held strong but so did the Voyageurs’ and at the end of the half the Kings were down 32-31.

Whatever coach Brandon Bishop said to the players at the break seemed to refresh the team who came up strong in the third quarter. It wasn’t until three or four minutes into the third that the Voyageurs managed to score.

Despite a strong hometown crowd, the Voyageurs managed to continue to sink baskets in the third and fourth quarters with simple, yet effective plays. Rather than risk an outside shot, the Voyageurs managed to bring the score to 50-50 with two minutes left in the game by sticking to safe and sure shots. A time out was called and Bishop tried to gather his players’ confidence.

“The long goal caught us by surprise a few times,” said Bishop.

A few more passes in the key and the Kings would have been able to sink more baskets but the Voyageurs took it 55-50.

There were some lessons for the players and Bishop said they know what went right and wrong and he feels a few minor defensive tweaks will be all the difference in their future games.

The boys won the B final bringing two wins and one loss over the weekend.

For the Queens, their first game on Friday against the Dave Thompson High School Voyageurs was where they secured their only win of the tournament.

At the start of the first half the Queens biggest challenge was getting close enough to the net to make a basket. Despite that issue the girls managed to stay close to the Voyageurs. The girls worked to prevent the Voyageurs from getting too close to make a layup.

It was at the second half that the girls started to control the game, says co-coach Darien Lloyd. “We were kind of dragging in the first half.”

At one point Lloyd and co-coach Ryan Roos put all the Grade 9s together, which helped their momentum.

“We just started to play a lot better,” observed Lloyd.

The girls lost their two Saturday games, first to Pigeon Lake and then to Wetaskiwin, but Roos suggested there were some major lessons learned at the tournament.

“We’re really pleased with the first result being that we were behind,” said Roos.

He and Lloyd take an approach to get all the girls on the court to give them more experience. The last game against Wetaskiwin was a close game but Roos says the Queens lost their momentum and energy and suffered penalties as the game wore on.

With that, the Queens managed to match their league record of one win and two losses. This was the first year the girls won a game together, said Roos and he is pleased with their improvement.

Lloyd added coaches are working on players’ diligence with the full court press and adding pressure to the other team.