The Carlton Crusaders Sr. Boy’s basketball team headed into the February break on a winning note thanks to a big victory in the final of the St. Mary tournament on Feb. 12.
The Crusaders jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, taking the ‘A’ Final 94-56 over Moose Jaw Central.
“I thought overall we played very solid all weekend long,” Carlton coach Tom Hazzard said. “We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. We shot the ball really well. We transitioned really well. Overall, I thought we had a very good weekend.”
Pranav Saggar lead the way with 25 points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders. Luke Huddlestone had 23 points for Carlton, while Brayden Hazzard rounded out the top three in scoring with 17 points.
Grade 12 student John Salayon was named player of the game for Carlton. He said his team played well, so it was a bit of a surprise to receive the award.
“I don’t think I deserved it,” he said with a laugh. “There’s a lot of pretty good players on our bench and good star players. I don’t think I deserved it at all.”
The Crusaders won three straight games to get to the ‘A’ Final. Once there, they quickly built up a big lead over the visitors, and ended the fourth quarter on a 17-12 run to close out the victory.
Hazzard said the team has struggled with defending all year, but showed improvement as the tournament went on. He also said their pace of play made a big difference.
“I like them to play fast and we continue to play fast and with energy,” Hazzard said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re up by 20 or down by 20. When you look at our team, we’re fast.”
The Crusaders are off until after the February break, when they travel to North Battleford in their last tournament before regionals on March 17-18. That tournament will decide who represents the area at Hoopla, which will be held in Prince Albert this year.
“We’ve got to come out of that, and if we stay healthy and play well, we’ll be okay,” Hazzard said.