OUTLOOK - For the first time in four years and for the seventh time in its 44-year history, the LCBI Bisons boys basketball team won their home tournament on Saturday night, January 28, besting seven other teams who came from around the province.
The 45th annual event, also known as the Rick Johnson Classic, kicked off on Friday afternoon, welcoming rosters from Delisle, Rocanville, Waldheim, Herbert, Unity, Coronach, and Biggar.
First up for the Bisons was a game against Delisle on Friday, kicking off the tournament at 4:00. While the Rebels certainly brought their game, the hosting Bisons felt like they had something to prove to their hometown crowd, and they did so by coming out on top against Delisle at a score of 40-26.
From there, LCBI found themselves matched up against Herbert the next day at noon, and since this game would decide which team would advance to the tournament final that night, it quickly turned into a must-see affair. Back and forth sinkers, impressive three-pointers from each team, and some swift dribbling and passing made for an exciting game in which momentum swung from one team to the other over the course of four periods.
Late in the third, the opposing Laurels were on top at a score of 29-24, so the Bisons had one more period to turn things around. And in the fourth, they certainly did. By the time a few minutes had passed in the final period, the Bisons had upped their score to 30-29, and from there, this one turned into a flurry of activity from both teams. With just four minutes remaining, things stood still at a tie of 39 apiece, but then Herbert eeked ahead to make it 40-39. Not to be shaken, the Bisons persevered and got ahead on the board, making it 41-40. Another netter and a three-pointer later, LCBI had taken the win at a score of 46-40, ensuring their presence in the final that evening.
Elsewhere on the court, Coronach won their place in the final opposite LCBI with a win over Unity at a score of 53-45. As well, Unity defeated Herbert to take 3rd Place at a score of 68-32, Delisle defeated Waldheim for 7th Place at a score of 41-29, and in the Consolation Final between Biggar and Rocanville, the winning squad was Biggar at a score of 70-54.
Finally, the championship final between LCBI and Coronach was in the last game of the evening. After the first quarter, the Bisons were up 13-7, meaning the Colts had some catching up to do, and that's just what they did in the second, with the scoreboard looking a little more close together at 23-19 heading into the second half of the game. The swinging back and forth nature of this game told spectators that it was truly either team's to take for the victory, as both rosters wanted it badly.
Coming back for the second portion of the game, the Colts nipped at the heels of the Bisons by making the score 23-22, but LCBI stood their ground. By the time the third had come and gone, the score was 34-28 for the home team, but there was one more chunk of time both teams had to put in to decide the victor on this night. By the final three minutes of this game, the score was 43-37 for the Bisons, meaning the Colts could gallop forward at any time. However, LCBI held strong and kept those Colts at bay, and while Coronach made one final basket, so did the Bisons, ensuring that this game would end in a hometown victory at a score of 45-39.
The crowd exploded in cheers as the LCBI Bisons had won their home tournament, marking the first win for the team since the 2019 event when they defeated Kindersley.
Coached by Leah Rusk, Matt Edwards and Maury Ziegler, the LCBI Bisons are comprised of Jarven Olson, Ronald Fung, Logan Haight, Lucas Walters, Joel Wright, Conrad Goad, Trason Ridgewell, Reed Wall, Kyler Spencer, Jaxtan Carlson, Jonathan Cha, Kalen Follick, Sam Murray, and Nathan Boot.