The Lindsay Thurber Raiders Senior Girls basketball team were all smiles after defeating a familiar rival to win their home tournament last weekend.
In a thrilling matchup decided by just two points, the Raiders came out on top over the Hunting Hills High School Lightning on Saturday evening, downing their longtime rivals by a score of 46-44 to take the gold medal at the annual Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Senior Basketball Tournament this past weekend.
“It was a good weekend. I was pleased with how the girls played for sure,” said Head Coach Kathy Lalor of her team’s performance throughout the tournament.
After winning their first two games of the tournament over Notre Dame High School out of Calgary and Leduc High School, the Thurber girls booked a trip to the gold medal game against their cross-town rivals.
In what could potentially be a preview of the Central Alberta High School zone final, the two Red Deer squads came out flying right from the opening whistle.
“Hunting Hills got out to a really good start and they were 16 points ahead of us partway through the third quarter but the girls just kept working hard and we slowly, slowly got back into a respectable under 10 points,” Lalor said.
One final push down the stretch by the Raiders was enough to vault them into the lead and eventually clinch the two-point victory.
“It was a fun game and it was good for the girls. They worked really hard as a team to get that win, so we’re really happy with that.”
Lalor also noted she was happy with how her team handled a tough Hunting Hills squad in a big game setting.
“I think it’s always good to get those games where it’s really close and you have to work really hard to win those games. The more games you can play like that during the course of the year the better your team’s going to become just simply because playing under that pressure is helping them to perform at a totally different level than when a game is a 20 or 30-point spread,” she said.
“You just see girls emerging as leaders and coming out and putting themselves on the line and doing whatever they need to do to help their team win.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders Senior Boys basketball team claimed silver in the tournament for the second year in a row after falling short in the final against a tough Brooks Buffalos team.
The Raiders made a valiant effort in the matchup but fell to the Buffalos 66-51 after a slow-shooting third quarter. The loss came on the heels of a semi-final victory over the Hunting Hills senior boys team earlier that day.
Also in the Thurber tournament, the Notre Dame Cougars Senior Boys basketball team took home a win in the tournament consolation final.
After dropping a high scoring opening game of the tournament 84-77 to Brooks, the Cougars quickly found their winning ways again in the second game of the weekend, defeating the Salisbury High School Sabres 71-60 to move on to the consolation final against Grande Prairie Composite.
Though the Cougars came out sluggish on the offensive side of the ball in the first half, they were still able to find a way to put up 14 points in the final three minutes of the half and draw within two points of the Grande Prairie squad.
They followed that up by taking the lead for good in the third and, despite some late pushes by the GP side, were able to hold on for a 65-63 win.
Tournament All-Star Jeb Maribojoc led the way for the Cougars in the final, putting up 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals while Vince Martin sunk 20 points and added five rebounds and four assists to help his team to the victory.
It’s set to be a busy week for all three local high school basketball programs as Notre Dame and Lindsay Thurber’s Senior Boys and Girls basketball teams will meet this Thursday night for a pair of regular season matchups before the three schools converge again at Hunting Hills for the annual Scott Doan Memorial Tournament this coming weekend.