PREECEVILLE-The Preeceville School senior boys basketball team triumphed and came home with bronze medals from the HOOPLA provincial basketball tournament held at St. Brieux on March 25-26. The team broke a 27-year dry spell, as the last time that Preeceville had won a medal at provincials was in 1995.
The team went into Hoopla as the underdog not expected to place in the top three much less win over top teams to bring home the bronze plaque. Prior to the team leaving, the school came together to cheer on their team in a grand pep rally held in the hallway of the school.
Team members were: Caden Worobetz, Merlin Kovacs, Lyndon Gawrelitza, Matthew Korney, Zachary Sorgen, Eric Dodge, Isaac Kashuba, Tristen Acosta, Lexluv Acosta, Gerbo Javelona and Floyd Pinaroc
Coaching staff were: Jeremy Mattison, head coach; Jay Steppan, assistant coach and Bill Dodge, manager.
Preeceville’s first game on Friday was held against the host team St. Brieux, the top ranked team in the province in the division. “The gym was packed and very loud and we knew we were up for a real battle,” said Jeremy Mattison, head coach. “We played well in the first quarter, keeping St. Brieux to a four-point lead. At the end of the second quarter they still had a nine-point lead over us. In the third and fourth quarter St. Brieux pulled ahead and wound up winning with an 82 to 52 final score. We played well and the boys showed our hard work, dedication and heart that they are made from,” said Mattison.
The Saturday game for the bronze medal was against Regina Laval who are a big city team.
“We had a large fan base at this game with past members and players coming out to support us.” Reported Mattison. “At the end of the first quarter they had a three-point lead on us and in the second we did not play well and they still had a lead of eight points. Our players went back to the locker room at half, regrouped and came back out inspired and ready to play their hearts out. We took over the game and with the crowd behind us in support we caught up and wound up tying the game with a 42 to 42 score. The fourth quarter was the deciding factor for us, we got into some foul problems with Zachary Sorgen fouling out but Isaac Kashuba came in and played his best game of the season. We came away with a 65 to 53 win for the bronze,”.
“Nobody expected us to win and it was all the heart, sole, hard work and dedication put in by the boys that exceeded everyone’s expectations,” continued Mattison. “They believed in themselves and what they learned and the skills they were given to excel. It was quite possibly one of the most historical moments in the school’s history, especially since the last time Preeceville was at provincials was in 1995 when they also brought home bronze. We as coaching staff are so overwhelmed with pride for the boys and their never-quit attitude,” he said.
In summarizing the season, Mattison stated that it was along season and really appreciated all the support from the fans, parents, and his gradating players, Lexluv Acosta, Eric Dodge who are co-captains and Caden Worobetz and Merlin Kovacs.
“In the beginning of the season, we faced an uncertainly if we were going to have a season or not,” explained Mattison. “We excelled in the beginning and prior to the Christmas break we had a 5 and 1 record, playing in a lot of big tournaments. We knew we had a special team that had the potential to go far with the big wins that they recorded. Jay Steppan joined Mattison after the Christmas break and the team took advantage of his expertise to learn and excel further. The team had a huge defensive side that helped carry them through the entire season.”
Coach Mattison is no stranger to coaching as he has been coaching sports at the Preeceville School since 2005, a 17-year span. He is the main coach for the football team and the past four years has coached senior boys basketball. He firmly believes that Preeceville will be back to Hoopla next year.