The schools were from across the province, but the scores proved that every team was competitive.
The Lake Lenore Lancers senior boys' basketball team hosted the annual Lake Lenore Invitational Tournament (LLIT) December 17-18. Teams from Melfort, Humboldt, North Battleford, Swift Current, and Middle Lake competed in the two-day event.
The first game of the tournament saw the Lancers take on the Melfort Comets.
Lake Lenore jumped out to an early lead, but the Comets battled back, taking a 14-12 lead as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter.
The second quarter saw the Lancers score 10 points before Melfort made a basket. But once again, the Comets worked their way back into striking range. The second quarter ended with the Lancers up 26-20.
The third quarter saw the teams slow the pace, but the Comets kept coming. Melfort took the lead with three and a half minutes left and racked up a 40-34 lead by the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was very low scoring, with the teams becoming very aggressive as the clock ticked down.
The Lancers had a chance to win it on foul shots, but instead lost the game by giving the Comets too many free throws. The final score was 48-46 for Melfort.
"We started quite slow against Melfort," said Lancer coach Lindsay Korte after the game. "We had a lot of beginning of the season mistakes like too many turnovers."
The Lancers have a younger team this year and the players are still learning to work together, she noted.
"We did pick it up at the end, but it was too little, too late," Korte said.
The second game of the night was Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) Mohawks taking to the court against the John Paul II Crusaders from North Battleford.
HCI jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the first quarter, but that would be their only lead in the game. The Crusaders took over the game with better ball control, better shooting and more steals than their opponents. North Battleford led 15-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was much the same, although HCI had a few plays that clicked. The Crusaders were leading 25-19 at the end of the half.
HCI tried hard in the third quarter, creeping back in range, but the Crusader defence kept them outside most of the time. North Battleford led 39-29 at the end of three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter saw HCI run into some foul trouble as they started pressing the Crusaders on offence.
The final score was 52-45 for North Battleford.
In the other two Friday games, Swift Current defeated Melfort 61-37 and North Battleford beat Middle Lake 71-62.
In the final two round robin games, played Saturday morning, Swift Current beat the Lancers 55-29 and HCI defeated Middle Lake 77-59.
Swift Current led the entire game against the Lancers, Korte noted.
"We were trying to force the outside shots because they had a couple of big guys playing post and they started making them, so the score opened up," she explained. "They had very consistent shooting."
The two third-place teams - Lake Lenore and Middle Lake - faced off in the first playoff game.
This was a quick, fast-paced game.
"We had the lead for most of the game, but Middle Lake came back at the end," Korte said.
Middle Lake was tired for the game, having just played HCI in their final round robin game, she noted.
The Lancers held on to win the game 73-69.
Melfort and HCI, the second-place teams, took to the court next. HCI won the game 59-49, to finish third in the tournament.
The final game saw the two first place teams from round robin play meet. Swift Current defeated North Battleford 50-29 to win the tournament.