Carlton senior A girls bring home silver after tournament in North Battleford

The Carlton senior A girls basketball team came home with silver medals after a tournament in North Battleford last weekend. --Photo courtesy of Instagram/pacarltonhs

The Carlton Crusaders senior A girls basketball team almost pulled off an upset in their gold medal game against Swift Current last weekend.

After making it to the finals in their tournament on the road in North Battleford, the team came back home with silver medals, and smiles on their faces. Coach Kelsey Pearson thinks it was an overall successful weekend, since this was their first big tournament back from the holiday break, after hosting just a three team tournament since returning to play.

“Surprisingly it went really well,” Pearson laughed. “Our goal was to make it to the final, and we knew the chances of us playing Swift Current would be pretty good. We made it to the final and matched up with Swift, so it was good for the girls to see where they were at compared to them.”

Twelve teams took part in the North Battleford tournament, which meant Carlton was able to take on some teams that they haven’t seen this year. Pearson says it’s always nice to play new teams, and continue to get more experience for the younger players on the team, who haven’t played much at the senior A level.

“It was nice to see where we were sitting compared to those other teams,” she said. “The important part of all this is that the girls just get to play games. That’s how they’re going to gain the most experience. We were fortunate enough to play four games, and we were pleasantly surprised with how much the girls have improved.”

For some of the grade 11 and 12 girls on the team, this is their first year of actually seeing a lot of court time. With COVID-19 cancelling last season, they were spending a lot of time on the bench while the seniors ran the floor. Now, it’s their time to make shots, and and Pearson said they’re doing an excellent job up to this point.

“They were so excited, and I think it was a turning point for our team,” she said about heading to North Battleford. “We haven’t really been away to any tournaments with each other, and that’s where the team bonding happens.

“Time on the road helps you understand your teammates and builds those bonds, and they got to know each other off the court. That was big for our team last weekend, and our girls were so lucky that the girls were able to do that.”

With the confidence and experience gained from their second place finish last weekend, Pearson says they feel good about how the rest of their season will unfold. There are still a lot of games to go before this team reaches their full potential. As more games and tournaments become available to play, the Crusaders can be even more optimistic as they head towards the latter stages of the season.

“Our girls are young, so as long as they keep improving, I think we’ll do okay,” Pearson said. “We have one of our home tournaments this weekend, and then we head to Moose Jaw. We have another big tournament in March, so I think we’ll be able to tell a little bit better where our team is at once we have some more games played.

“Every team is in the same position as us right now, we’re all looking to play more games. Right now, I think everyone is just figuring out who they are, and they’re still new to playing games. We’re going to learn what it takes to reach some more of their goals.”

Carlton’s home tournament this weekend features six teams. The Crusaders play their first game at 7pm on Friday night against Lloydminster. They also play at 11:15 on Saturday morning, with playoffs beginning at 1:30.

The St. Mary Marauders will also be in the tournament. The senior A girls play the first game of the day on Friday, a 1:00pm tip off against Melfort. They also play at 5pm on Friday night, and will have Saturday off until the playoff rounds begin.