Crusader boys fall short in bronze medal game against Regina Riffel

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Carlton Crusaders guard Luke Huddlestone attempts a pass during the bronze medal game of Hoopla 2023 at Ecole St. Mary High School on Mar. 25, 2023

The Carlton Crusaders boys basketball team gave the Regina Riffel Royals everything they could handle, but fell just short of the podium with an 83-76 loss during 5A Boys action at Hoopla 2023.

The Crusaders fell behind early, but stormed back to take a one point 43-42 lead at halftime.

Carlton head coach Tom Hazzard says the Crusaders did everything they could to give themselves a chance to win.

“We always say it’s going to be a long game. You don’t win or lose the game in the first five minutes. Even though we were down, we remained positive. Once we started scoring, I thought it was a good thing for us. To be up at half, and a tie game going into the forth, you can’t ask for more than that in a great atmosphere against a good basketball team.”

Carlton finishes the weekend at Hoopla with an overall record of 1-2. The Crusaders picked up a quarterfinal win over Regina Miller on Thursday 89-76, before falling to Saskatoon Holy Cross in the semi final 100-86.

Hazzard says he thinks the Hoopla experience was worthwhile for the Crusaders.

“It’s a lot of fun. We asked before the game for the boys to compete and end their season on a good note. As long as we leave the locker room and say we’ve competed, I thought we played our best. I thought we came away happy. We played the number one team in Regina and Saskatoon and came within 10 points of each. You can’t ask for more than that, I’m proud of this team.”

THe Carlton boys feature a heavy contingent of Grade 12 players. Hazzard says he feels his players are well prepared for their next chapters.

“It’s very special. Basketball is just part of your life, some of them will be moving onto more basketball, some will be onto the workforce or university. They become good characters. It’s been a great bunch of boys to be with.”

For Carlton, Luke Huddlestone led with 28 points while Brayden Hazzard shot well from behind the arc with 15 points.