Ar­dens ad­vance to Re­gion­als

The Southwest Booster - - SPORTS - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Swift Cur­rent Comp. Ar­dens se­nior girls bas­ket­ball team ex­tended their sea­son by one weekend with a win Fri­day to qual­ify for Re­gion­als.

The Ar­dens won their SHSAA 4A Girls Con­fer­ence opener at home on Fri­day be­fore los­ing the semi-fi­nal on Satur­day.

The Ar­dens opened the tour­na­ment with an easy 6345 win over Moose Jaw Vanier to book a trip to Re­gion­als. The Ar­dens came out of the blocks slowly but they started to score easy tran­si­tion bas­kets to lead 1911 af­ter the first quar­ter. Their de­fense took over in the sec­ond quar­ter as they held the Vik­ings to four points for a 37-15 lead at half­time to put the game out of reach. The sec­ond half was a mere for­mal­ity as the Ar­dens kept their bod­ies fresh and cruised to the vic­tory.

They sput­tered early against the Lums­den An­gels Satur­day and trailed by over 20 points at times be­fore even­tu­ally los­ing 80-66 in a wildly en­ter­tain­ing con­test.

They got out to an aw­ful start but did well to cut the deficit to 40-27 at half­time. The Ar­dens heated up in the third quar­ter to score 26 points for a 57-53 deficit head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

Their come­back bid was dealt a blow when grade 12 guard Shae-Lynn Bolton in­jured her an­kle early in the fourth quar­ter and Lums­den outscored them 21-11 the rest of the way for a 14point win to move on to the Con­fer­ence fi­nal against Moose Jaw AE Pea­cock.

“We came out slow in the first quar­ter,” ad­mit­ted Ar­dens’ as­sis­tant coach Duane Regier. “Then we re­ally pulled it to­gether and got back in the game to be down by four. We fought un­til the end and we just couldn’t pull it to­gether in the last two min­utes.”

“If we would have started off the way we played in the sec­ond half we def­i­nitely would have had that game in the bag,” added grade 11 guard Katie Dar­ling­tonKue­bler.

“We ran the floor more. We looked more into the post and our shots started to fall,” she said of her team that went blow for blow with Lums­den com­pared to the one that trailed by over 20 points early in the sec­ond quar­ter. The slow start was just too much for the Ar­dens to over­come against a qual- ity op­po­nent.

“I think some shots off the top, we missed about three in a row and it caused the girls to get down on them­selves a lit­tle bit. They had to re­al­ize that they had to get it back on de­fense and it just took us a lit­tle while for the de­fense to get rolling to get us back in the game,” said Regier.

They made a game of it in the sec­ond half, pulling within four points on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions.

“The de­fense was ro­tat­ing bet­ter,” said Regier. “We were ac­tu­ally re­bound­ing and get­ting ag­gres­sive in the key. We just started do­ing a lot of things well, in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion as a team and just started to hit shots on the of­fen­sive side.”

The Ar­dens were forced to be­gin pon­der­ing how they would re­place their top three-point threat if Bolton is not avail­able for Re­gion­als with their sea­son on the line.

“Yeah we are def­i­nitely go­ing to need some more people to step up shoot­ing­wise. It is heart-break­ing but it is some­thing that we are go­ing to have to deal with,” said Darlington-Kue­bler.

“We need to step up and team, team, team. We have been play­ing team all year, we have been ro­tat­ing the same girls in and out and we will just have the next girl step up and play a big­ger role,” added Regier.

The Ar­dens will be in Lums­den for a four-team Re­gional tour­na­ment where they will need to win both games to ad­vance to Hoopla in Regina the fol­low­ing weekend. They open the tour­na­ment Fri­day with a po­ten­tial re­match against Lums­den loom­ing Satur­day need­ing to win both games to ad­vance to Hoopla.

“We def­i­nitely need to put it to­gether in prac­tice this week,” said Darlington Kue­bler. “Ev­ery­body has got to work 100 per­cent. If we put it to­gether like we did in the last quar­ter then we def­i­nitely have a good shot at go­ing to Hoopla next weekend.”

“The key for us is to come out and re­al­ize that we can run with any team in Saskatchew­an,” added Regier. “We have had some big games al­ready this year where we have proven that we can play with any­body. Even in this game here we came back and showed that we can come back from down 20 points. It is just keep­ing it rolling into next weekend and play­ing with that same in­ten­sity.”

Photo by Steven Mah

Vet­eran guard Katie Darlington-Kue­bler (right) got to the bas­ket for an easy tran­si­tion bucket dur­ing Fri­day’s win over Moose Jaw Vanier.

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