Crusaders senior girls advance to 5A Hoopla tournament

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Alex Soyko of the Carlton Crusaders works her way through the St. Mary Marauders defence during a 5A girls’ rural regional semifinal Saturday morning.

For the fourth straight year, the Carlton Crusaders senior girls’ basketball team is headed to Hoopla.

The Crusaders punched their ticket to Saskatoon with a 78-51 win over the St. Mary Marauders Saturday in a 5A rural regional semi-final game at Carlton, and followed that up with a 75-53 victory over the Swift Current Ardens in the final.

“This was the goal for us at the start of the year and it’s nice for the girls to go in as regional champions,” Crusaders coach Jenn Ferguson said.

“That experience of going to Hoopla is something that you can’t replace, which was why getting there was so important for us. We only have two graduating players so this experience will be huge for all of those girls that will be back next season.”

The Crusaders, who have a won a bronze medal at two of the last three Hoopla tournaments, will go up against the Holy Cross Crusaders of Saskatoon in Thursday’s quarter-final game at 7:45 p.m. at Evan Hardy.

“We took Holy Cross to overtime at St. Mary’s tournament earlier this year and our girls played exceptional against them,” Crusaders coach Kelsey Pearson said.

“They are a defensively minded team, which is the key to their success, and they have more height than us. As a result, we will need to use our speed to our advantage.”

The winner of that game will face either the Regina LeBoldus Golden Suns or the Ardens in Friday’s semifinal

The other quarter-final contests will see the Regina Riffel Royals take on the Saskatoon Centennial Chargers and the Regina O’Neill Titans match up with the Saskatoon St. Joseph Guardians.

Although their season came to an end against Carlton, St. Mary head coach Dwayne Gareau believes the Marauders can take a lot from this past weekend as they move forward.

“There’s only going to be a couple of teams that end the season on a winning note, so we can use a result like this as motivation to get to that point,” Gareau said.

“We did some things really well but against a team like Carlton you have to play well and limit your mistakes.”

5A Boys Regional

The Carlton Crusaders senior boys’ were one win away from heading to Hoopla but ended up falling to the top ranked Lloydminster Barons by a score of 94-84 at their tournament in Yorkton.

“We only had 40 points against them the last time we played, so it was a great performance by our guys and we hung in there with Lloydminster for most of the game,” Crusaders head coach Tim Strom said.

“That was the first time in a number of years that we have been in the Hoopla qualifier game and we ended up being the team that gave Lloydminster their toughest battle all weekend. Other than the final result, it was a great weekend for us.”

The Crusaders started off the weekend on a winning note as they beat the St. Mary Marauders in a 75-58 quarter-final contest.

“I know the final score won’t show it, but it was a close game all the way until the middle of the fourth quarter,” Marauders head coach Dave Seto said. “It really could have gone either way.

“I thought we played really well and I was really happy with how we performed this season, especially since we had such a young team.”

The Estevan Elecs earned the other spot in Hoopla with a 81-70 triumph over the host Yorkton Raiders.

Girls 3A Regional

The 15th ranked Prince Albert Collegiate Institute Golden Bears turned in their best showing of the season on Friday in Regina, as they suffered a 73-55 setback to the regional host and second seeded Regina Christian Grizzlies.

“The girls played their hearts in front of a packed gym and they got their most points of the season against the Grizzlies,” Golden Bears head coach Ranelle Mamczasz said.

“They were so excited about how they played and being part of an experience like that. With the young team that we have, this will be a huge boost for us and hopefully we can gain more interest in the school after making it to the regionals.”

The Grizzlies were later upset in the regional final in a 61-55 affair against the Unity Warriors.