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Kuemper hoping for big show at regionals

By Jeff Schneberk Staff Writer
Kuemper in action (in yellow) at a recent tournament

Mark Kuemper is going to be one tired boy when his time runs out as a high school student.

Having played on the football team, volleyball team, soccer team (where he helped win the provincials this year against Regina), badminton and basketball, he's also earned Athlete of the Month honours at school.

Even more recently, he had 19 points to lead his team as SHHS took on the Yorkton Regional High School over the weekend at the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) basketball conference championship.

The Sacred Heart Saints will be playing in the regionals this year, after having won a close game last weekend in Balgonie against the Yorkton Regional High School.

Saints head coach Garrett Karcha suggested that Kuemper was a big reason for that.

"I coached Mark Kuemper when he was in Gr. 8 at St. Paul's School. We won a city elementary championship together that year. Mark made a 3/4 court buzzer beater in the finals against Yorkdale. He has made (some) huge strides."

Fast forward to the current season.

Now it's one down, one to go.

When he leaves high school at the end of the year there is a good chance that one of the things that will probably stick out in his mind upon completion is some of the basketball games he played in.

Notably last weekend's two-point victory over his arch-rival, the Yorkton Regional High School, in which he led Saints' scoring with 19 point, en route to his team's closest margin of victory this season.

"I don't think anybody expected us to win it," he told the paper two days after winning the conference title.

Now all Saints set their sights on regionals, which are scheduled for this weekend up in the Battlefords.

Kuemper said he can't wait.

Playing here two weeks ago in front of one of the loudest crowds he said he's seen in a long time down the street at the Regional, is going to be at the forefront of his good memories while playing basketball.

"It was good for the emphasis of the crowd." It was something he added doesn't come along a whole lot at the high school level, he said of the game played two weekends ago.

"Oh yeah, it's fun," he said of the atmosphere surrounding games such as that.

This past weekend will also likely rank highly on his list as he and his SHHS Saints teammates made the trip to Balgonie along with the YRHS and Melville for conference action.

Kuemper had 19 points to lead his team to a 70-68 win.

Prior to that win, his team was handed close to a 20-point defeat at the school down the street on Gladstone.

Kuemper and company jumped out to a solid lead early, then fell asleep at the wheel and it all went downhill from there as the host school YRHS drove them into the ground in the second half.

"It's very hard to get back when they get on top," suggested Kuemper, right before adding that it was awesome to see a crowd out like that.

"Everyone makes a big deal about it," he observed following that action, then added that "the other games were kind of a way to roll things through," he said of SHHS's other opposition.

Other highlights in his basketball career at SHHS include scoring 47 points in Gr. 10 against the Regional, as well as another big game against Prince Albert St. Marys played in Melfort.

He also played a key role in an exhibition game played in the Sacred Heart gym in which Kuemper helped send the game into overtime by being in the right place at the right time.

Upon graduation from Sacred Heart, Kuemper said he hopes to be able to study business administration in university next year.

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