The LCHS Senior Girls had a quiet month on the hardwood with only three league games which netted two wins but also reinforced that the search for a complete 40-minute game remains.
Immediately after returning to classes January 4 the Tigers traveled to Edmonton Christian to take on the Lions and for the first time in years the Tigers prevailed against the perennially 3A provincials-bound Lions, 60-48. “Both teams exhibited rust from the holidays but the girls improved steadily throughout the game and clearly dominated in the 4th quarter,” summarized coach Mark May. Emma VanBruinessen, Hannah Mitchell and Allison Raitz led the way, scoring the bulk of the team’s 60 points, largely from inside the paint. “We were tied at the half and 3/4 points in the game so to see the girls pull away in the fourth highlighted the fact that their conditioning, while not excellent, was not completely absent,” noted assistant coach Cassia May.
On January 6 the Tigers again traveled, this time to take on the Archbishop O’Leary Spartans. Again the Tigers started out slowly, especially shooting, against a quick and sizeable Spartan squad. Over time the finesse of the Tigers, inside and from the perimeter, provided the edge to seal the victory by the same 60-48 margin. Of note was the play of Payton May, a Gr. 10 guard. “Payton has been nursing some injuries and, as all Gr. 10s do, getting used to the high school game. It is a pretty big jump to go from junior high ball to Division 1 senior ball and I think Payton and Jolene Vlieg have made the jump admirably, as have Gr. 11 rookies Janaya Probe and Belicia Macias,” summarized AC Dan Raitz. “Payton’s game against O’Leary was a defining one for her in terms of truly ‘arriving’ at the level of senior play, scoring 13 pts and shooting at the right time and from the right place. She played a lot of aces in her hand that game,” enthused assistant coach Mitchell. “It was a pretty complete game for Payton, as she had very few passing errors and worked the ball around from her guard position very nicely,” added assistant coach Raitz in his post-game synopsis.
The last league game of the month before the exam break had the Tigers hosting the Skyhawks from St. Albert Catholic High School. The Tigers actually started out well and played a pretty solid first half and were down by just one at the half, 33-32. “We slowed the play down, limiting one of their strengths, and scored inside against a Skyhawk squad that is smaller than in the past,” strategized coach May. However, the second half saw the Skyhawks put on a shooting clinic and boast a commanding 25 point lead by the end of the 3rd quarter. “Frankly, it was both impressive and depressing. The Skyhawks scored on 10 consecutive offensive possessions, both inside and especially from the perimeter, and we simply did not make those shots difficult enough for them,” added Raitz. The final score, 91-55, depicted a game where the Tiger played well in the first half but were completely dominated by the Skyhawks in the second half.
Going into the exam /semester break, the Tigers are 10-4 overall and 3-3 in Metro Division 1 league play, good enough for seventh place in the 13 school Division 1 league. The first three weeks of February will be busy as the Tigers play 12 games in three weeks, with half of those games being fairly critical league games. “If that does not prepare us of the playoffs I don’t know what will,” predicted Coach May.