Preview: Crusaders building to Hoopla berth

Carlton Crusader Nhel Arpia (10) grabs the jump ball at the start of the high school’s annual Red and White game as part of senior boys basketball team tryouts in November 2017. Herald File Photo

The senior boys basketball team at Carlton high school is looking to make the most of an upcoming opportunity this season.

The Prince Albert high school will be the host site of Saskatchewan’s annual high school basketball championships, called Hoopla, next year from March 22 to 24.

Carlton will host boys and girls teams in all divisions and age groups.

Tim Strom, one of the coaches for the Crusaders senior boys team, says playing at home in the championship tournament is the end-goal for this year’s squad.

Of the 13 players on the team, 10 are returning from last year.

“Our strong suit is we’ve got a lot of veteran presence,” he said.

“We’ve got five grade 12s this year.

“What we took in terms of new players – because many of our grade 12s are tall players or post players – we have two rookies, a grade 11 and a grade 10, who are pretty tall. So we took some size to add to the roster.”

The Crusaders wrapped up their first action of the season last weekend at the Carlton Invitational Tournament – the team placed third after winning the 3rd place game 78-57 against the Birch Hills Marauders.

Nhel Arpia led the Crusaders in points scored in the game with 23, including three field goals from beyond the arc; teammate Aniket Saggar was second in team scoring with 14 points, in part due to three three-point field goals.

The Weyburn Wolverines won the tournament after beating the team from Meadow Lake’s Carpenter high school 71-46.

How the Crusaders’ boys team fairs this year will depend mostly on its tournament play throughout the season, because they don’t play against Saskatoon or Regina teams.

For more on this story, please see the Dec. 6 print edition or e-edition of the Daily Herald.