PACI senior boys’ gain experience from hosting conference tourney

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Darius Morin of the PACI Golden Bears rises above Aleer Dreaver of Se Se Wa Hum during a 3A boys’ conference game on Saturday morning.

Although they weren’t able to make their way into the regional round for the 3A boys’ Hoopla tournament, last weekend’s conference tournament was a huge learning experience for the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute Golden Bears senior basketball team.

“There’s a lot that we can take from this, especially with being the host team,” Golden Bears head coach Kylie Emmerson said.

“We’ve had some great leadership this year from our Grade 12 players (Luke Bennett and Lionel Charles) and I think our younger guys are going to be able to grow as players and apply what they learned from them as they get ready for next season.”

The Golden Bears season’ came to an end Saturday morning as they fell to Se Se Wa Hum in an 81-65 semifinal game.

“I thought it was a pretty evenly matched game,” Emmerson said. “We were able to adapt to their different defences and we played as a team.

“It was pretty similar to when we played them in the regular season. Se Se Wa Hum has some really good three-point shooters, and that made the difference in the end.”

The Sandy Bay T-Wolves, who also clinched a spot in the regionals with a 118-79 semifinal over Tisdale, won the tournament outright with a 100-92 triumph over Se Se Wa Hum.

Meanwhile, the Golden Bears’ senior girls’ program will enter this weekend’s 3A regional tournament as the 15th seed.

Their quest to reach next weekend’s Hoopla tournament in Saskatoon gets underway Friday as they take on the second-ranked Regina Christian Grizzlies, who are serving as the event hosts.

If they can pull off the upset, they will take on either seventh-seeded Unity Warriors or tenth-ranked Oxbow.

“This is our first time facing them this year, so it will be a good challenge for us,” Golden Bears head coach Ranelle Mamczasz said.

“We have just one returning player from last year’s team and nine new ones, so we’re going to use this weekend as a chance to gain experience against the top teams.”

The Golden Bears finished in fourth place at last weekend’s conference event after a 60-24 loss to the Melville Cobras and a 62-25 defeat to the hosts from Tisdale.

“Even though we lost, we’ve really come a long way as a team and I thought this was our best performances of the season,” Mamczasz said.

“Tisdale’s coach came up to me after our game and said that it felt like they were playing a totally different team from when they played us the first time. That really means a lot to us when someone tells us that.”

The Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders basketball programs will also be in action this weekend as 5A rural regional tournaments.

The Crusaders senior girls’ are the top seed and the hosts for their event, as they have received a bye to Saturday’s semifinal at 10 a.m.

The Marauders have earned the fourth seed and will play the Lloydminster Comprehensive Barons at 5:45 p.m. Friday, with the winner taking on the Crusaders for a spot at Hoopla.

The other side of the bracket sees the Swift Current Ardens earning a bye to the semifinal, where they will play the Weyburn Eagles or the Yorkton Raiders.

It will be an all Prince Albert battle in the first round of the 5A boys’ regional in Yorkton on Friday as the fourth-ranked Crusaders square off with the fifth-ranked Marauders.

The winner of that game will face either the top-ranked Barons or the eighth-seeded Balgonie Greenall Griffins for a Hoopla berth in the semifinal.

The Estevan Elecs lead the other side of the bracket as the second seed and will face the seventh-ranked Swift Current Colts in the quarter-final.

The host Raiders are the third seed and are set to play sixth-ranked North Battleford Comprehensive Vikings.