Ar­dens gear­ing up for home tour­na­ment

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The Swift Cur­rent Comp. Se­nior Ar­dens bas­ket­ball team will get their first chance to play in front of their home­town fans this weekend when they host their an­nual home tour­na­ment.

The Ar­dens, who fea­ture six vet­er­ans and six rook­ies, opened their sea­son with a sil­ver medal in Este­van on Novem­ber 2930.

They were in Caron­port this past weekend and opened the tour­na­ment with a 57-49 win over Birch Hills on Fri­day. “Con­sid­er­ing we put our­selves in a 16-2 hole in the first five min­utes of the game I was proud of the way the girls con­tin­ued to play hard and got them­selves back in the game,” ex­plained Ar­dens head coach An­drew Her­rick.

Grade 11 guard Katie Dar­ling­ton-Kue­bler led the team with 17 points and grade 10 guard Jade Ad­dai chipped in eight points.

They were bounced from ti­tle con­tention that evening with a 72-41 loss to In­dian Head. “In­dian Head is a fun­da­men­tally sound team and they ex­e­cuted very well in the first half,” said Her­rick. “In the sec­ond half we ad­justed to their level of in­ten­sity and played them even which gave us some mo­men­tum go­ing into the third place game.”

Ad­dai led the Ar­dens with 18 points in the loss and Dar­ling­ton-Kue­bler added nine points.

The Ar­dens won their tour­na­ment fi­nale on Sat- ur­day, de­feat­ing Este­van 55-49 with­out their three grade 12’s, who were back in Swift Cur­rent for the grad win­ter ban­quet. Both teams were with­out key pieces and played with Lynn Bolton suited up in the Ar­dens’ first two games in Caron­port.

“I thought that we had a slow start in both games. Then when ev­ery­one just comes to­gether and ev­ery­one gives that pos­i­tive en­ergy on the court and on the bench, then we just re­ally pick it up and come to­gether as a team and get things done and we come back.”

The third-year Ar­den would like to see her team get off to bet­ter starts as the sea­son pro­gresses.

“I think we need to get more fo­cused in our warm-up and start think­ing about what we need to do and what our role is be­fore the game even starts so that we are men­tally pre­pared for the tip-off.”

The Ar­dens will head into their home tour­na­ment with a 4-2 record early in the sea­son.

“Well of­fence wins games and de­fense wins cham­pi­onships, so def­i­nitely we are work­ing on our de­fence and mak­ing sure that our de­fence is strong, be­cause if you have good de­fence you can win,” said Bolton.

“I think our iden­tity would be speed, get­ting those tran­si­tion layups and com­ing at a team be­fore they get set up for de­fense,” Bolton added.

The Ar­dens will open their home tour­na­ment Fri­day at 2:35 p.m. against the Shau­navon Sil­hou- ettes. The win­ner of that game will play in the semi­fi­nal on Satur­day at 11:40 a.m., while the loser will play in the con­so­la­tion semi-fi­nal at 8:30 a.m.

The cham­pi­onship game is slated for Satur­day at 7:35 p.m. “Our goal is to hope­fully end up in the fi­nal and hope­fully win. We need to make sure that we are im­prov­ing ev­ery game and that we know what we need to work on,” said Bolton.

Round­ing out the eight­team field will be the Moose Jaw Vanier Vik­ings, Este­van Elecs, Wey­burn Ea­gles, Moose Jaw Cen­tral Cy­clones, York­ton Re­gion­als Lady Raiders, and Regina Luther Col­lege Li­ons.

The Ar­dens won sil­ver last year at home with a nar­row loss to Wey­burn in the cham­pi­onship game. They are look­ing to uti­lize their home court ad­van­tage once again and are hop­ing that a quiet sport­ing cal­en­dar in Swift Cur­rent this weekend will lead to some large crowds.

“Yeah it helps when your home crowd is there cheer­ing you on. When you are out there play­ing you just feel all that en­ergy and you have adren­a­line. All the en­ergy makes you play bet­ter and that big gym is re­ally in­tim­i­dat­ing to other teams,” said Bolton.

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