The LCHS sr. girls travelled to Camrose Composite High School to competeTigers Tops in BP Classic , very successfully as it turned out, in the BP Classic. The girls opened the tourney with a convincing 59-14 win over the Highwood Mustangs from High River. “The Mustangs are a young, fairly inexperienced team and we were simply too big and too experienced,” summarized Mark May. The Tigers semifinal game pitted them against the Holy Trinity Knights from Edmonton. In a much tighter battle the Tigers prevailed 62-53.
“Trinity has good speed but our post play inside, especially from Emma vanBruinessen, Hannah Mitchell, Danika May and Ashtyn Junod, was decisive” concluded assistant coach Dan Raitz. The final pitted the Tigers against the Bandits from Ecole Secondaire Beaumont Composite High School and the size and overall polish of the Tigers overwhelmed Beaumont 63-42. “Beaumont played their hearts out but the way we started both halves it was apparent that we were not going to be denied the victory,” surmised assistant coach Cassia Mitchell.
In addition to attaining the championship, the Tigers’ Emma vanBruinessen was named the team’s MVP for the tournament. “Anyone who has watched us play for more than five minutes would quickly realize that Emma is athletic and very aggressive as a basketball player. She is definitely not the biggest post player but she makes up for it with her intensity and desire” added Coach May.
League play summary
After the season opening victory over Strathcona, the Tigers have endured two losses dropping a 58-36 decision to the Paul Kane Blues and a 67-66 squeaker to the Titans from Harry Ainlay. Against PK the Tigers faltered under the Blues press and once they found their confidence it was too little, too late. “PK is quick, has decent size and are well coached. I would be surprised if they were not top 4 in the league,” summed up Raitz. “Having said that, if we play to our potential we can play with them – that requires fewer mental mistakes” countered May.
The second league loss to Ainlay was all the more painful because the Tigers were leading for most of the game. “We can play with and beat many teams, even with a few injuries, because of our depth but we cannot beat many teams making regular passing/receiving mistakes and displaying lackluster rebounding,” said May. Raitz noted “The loss marred a great game by Hannah Mitchell, probably her best of the year – she was smooth to the hoop down low.” AC and sport psychologist Cassia Mitchell reported “The girls need to counter mental/physical mistakes with a spark rather than a sputter – emotionally they need to shake off mistakes and create new chances for scoring and success rather than drop their heads and hearts”.
Although their league record is 1 – 2, the Tigers overall record is 8 -3. Raitz opined “(It) is okay – we need to remind ourselves it is mid-December and not mid-February. As the girls mental/physical skills and conditioning improves, the systems they have learned will work more consistently. We have nine more league games and two more tournaments so their will be plenty of opportunity to gauge improvement.”
The team takes a two week Christmas break before returning to league play January 4, 6 and 10. A break for exams follows and play resumes again February 1.