It's gold for the Raiders

By Gordon Anderson

March 7, 2017 12:00 AM

After much adversity was overcome, it turned out to be a golden trip to Saskatchewan for the Raiders.
The Holy Rosary senior girls basketball team grabbed the gold medal at the Hoops for Hope Pink Tournament in Unity after a 69-64 overtime win over the Delisle Composite Rebels on Saturday night.
The game was tied 60-60 at the end of regulation.
The Raiders went into the tournament short-handed with 10 players after previous engagements forced two players to miss the tournament.
By Saturday they were down to eight bodies after two players came down with flu-like symptoms on Saturday morning. 
Despite that, they managed to beat the host Unity Warriors 62-29 in the semi Saturday afternoon before squeezing by a very determined Delisle squad in the gold-medal game.
The team opened the tournament with a 46-27 victory over the John Paul II Crusaders on Friday.
“We did enough in the final to come away with the victory,” Raiders’ head coach Josh Lyons said, despite having an eight-point lead with 90 seconds left in the game and letting it slip away.
“…They had a full bench and they pressed us the whole game. We didn’t handle it cleanly but we took of advantage of it when we did break the press. I wasn’t disappointed by the way they played in the final.”
Two more players also fouled out before the extra session started on Saturday night, leaving them with six players, three who played the OT with four fouls.
After losing in the Royals Rumble final to the Cold Lake Royals last weekend, the team poked under very rock looking for answers to an offence that, all of a sudden, looked tentative and unsure, or as Lyons called it “a smorgasbord of bad.”
The club found some of its answers.
“Top to bottom it was better,” Lyons said.
“Our defence was better, there were lulls, it’s high school basketball and you can’t play perfect ball all the time. Our offence was effective for the most part.”
And with the club hosting the zone tournament this weekend, the bus ride home from Unity was the last time to feel good before the real season gets going Friday at the Holy Rosary gym.
“It was elation and relief and the realization that hard wok can feel really good,” Lyons said.
“It was a rewarding game to come out with the win because they worked hard and battled through the adversity, late in the game, to find a way to win.”
And with a trip to the provincials on the line, perhaps the squad that laid waste to all opponents prior to the Hugh Morrell Border Classic can find its way to a provincial gold-medal game.
“The weaknesses that showed up at the Cold Lake tourney, we did address,” Lyons said.
“I wouldn’t say we perfected these things but we plugged those holes, somewhat, this weekend and it showed. In the semi-final game we played as good a game as we have all year,” he said.
“We were defensively solid and executed offensively.”

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