With the regional high school basketball tournaments taking place this weekend, the Carlton Crusaders are hoping to punch their ticket to Hoopla next weekend in Prince Albert.
The Crusader boys enter the regional tournament in Moose Jaw ranked as the number one team in the championship bracket.
Head coach Tom Hazzard says Carlton will need to be at their best throughout the weekend with many teams looking for an upset.
“We set our season up so that we can do a lot of really great tournaments and play quite a lot of really great teams. Our mindset going in is that the teams we are going to play are all going to be competitive teams and our confidence is pretty good. We know that we have to play our best. If we don’t, these teams can beat us.”
The Crusader boys will open their regional tournament against ninth seeded Warman, who defeated Estevan 77-41 to earn a spot in the championship bracket.
Despite being the one seed, the Crusaders aren’t taking any opponent for granted.
Hazzard says the team can’t get caught up in rankings at this time of the year.
“I think once you get into the playoffs, the rankings are one thing. You’re getting teams that are ranked fairly close which I don’t think it really matters.”
Despite being the top ranked team and Hoopla being hosted in Prince Albert, Hazzard says the Crusaders are focusing on the task at hand and not putting any additional pressure on themselves.
“I think at the top of their mind, we haven’t really talked about it. We talked about focusing on one game at a time and taking care of business. I think being such a big Grade 12 team, I think they would love to finish off their high school career with a Hoopla appearance.”
The Carlton Crusader girls enter the regional tournament in Lloydminister as the number two seed and will face seventh seeded Weyburn in their opening game, who defeated Lloydminister 62-57 to earn a spot in the championship bracket.
Crusader co-coach Jenn Ferguson said before the season that Carlton is hoping to punch a ticket to Hoopla.
“There’s pressure to qualify every year and that’s why we play. This year, we feel like we have a legitimate shot at advancing and doing well there. The thing about PA hosting Hoopla, is that there are three seeds from the small cities/rural 5A tournament. We are hoping to be top three in that.”
The Crusader girls have relied on their bench all season long and Ferguson says Carlton will look to do more of the same in regionals
“We’ve got 12 players that can contribute on and off the court. We are going to have to play really quick. We are hoping to use that to our advantage to play a fast game and a game where we have lots of subs in and out to keep fresh legs and outrun other teams.”
Hoopla will take place in Prince Albert from Mar. 24-26