The Mohawks girls are still alive and kicking.
The Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) senior girls' basketball team battled through a tough weekend of competition to ensure themselves a berth in 4A regionals.
Six teams took part in the conference playdowns, which were held Friday and Saturday at HCI. Although the Mohawks lost to Prince Albert Carlton in the tournament final, their second-place finish was enough to get them into the Regionals. The Melfort Comets and Prince Albert St. Mary's Marauders also advanced, as the number three and four seeds.
Thanks to a no. 2 ranking in their conference, the Mohawks girls earned a bye into Saturday's semi-final round. There they faced a formidable squad in the P.A. St. Mary's Marauders. It was a back-and-forth, run-and-gun game from start to finish, with HCI leading 18-17 after the first quarter and the Marauders inching ahead 35-32 at the half. HCI surged by eight heading into the final frame, with some strong play on both sides of the ball. But a couple of clutch three-pointers by P.A. in the final two minutes made for a very tight finish. Mohawks forward Paige Crozon blocked another three-point attempt at the line with less than a minute to go, and that was huge as it could have tied the game for P.A. From there, the Mohawks were able to hang on, winning 66-63.
Guard Lindsey Larson led the Mohawks offence with 24 points in the game, while Paige Crozon tallied 16.
Unfortunately, the game against St. Mary's seemed to leave the Mohawks girls mentally and physically exhausted, and they were unable to ride any momentum to a victory against P.A. Carlton in the conference final. The Crusaders controlled the flow of the game from start to finish, although HCI certainly didn't give up without a fight. Crozon led all Mohawks shooters with 26 points against Carlton, but the outcome was never really in doubt. The Crusaders took top spot with a 72-52 decision.
"I think we pretty drained after that game against St. Mary's," Mohawks head coach Kerri Archibald agreed. "The whole game against Carlton, we really didn't play our best."
Archibald noted that the Crusaders utilized their not-so-secret weapon - towering 6'5" forward Dalyce Emmerson - to full advantage, as Emmerson scored 28 points in the final game. Given that school's population as well, Archibald said she's really not surprised Carlton would come out on top.
"Their program has about 800 girls to choose from," she noted, adding the HCI's total female student population is about 160.
Nevertheless, thanks to HCI's success, the senior girls have the opportunity to host 4A Regionals here this coming weekend. The Mohawks' first game of the four-team regional tournament will take place Friday at 6 p.m. Only the top team from each region advances to Hoopla, the province's high school basketball tournament.
In boys' 4A conference playdowns, Humboldt lost 62-54 to the host Melfort Comets to be bounced from provincial contention after only one game.
Derek Busby tallied 27 points for the Comets, while Darren Henry scored 20 for HCI.
P.A. St. Mary's took the boys' top spot in the tournament, defeating P.A. Carlton 82-65 in the final. Melfort and Nipawin also advanced to 4A boys' regionals.