MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — The Assiniboia Rockets have done it.
Just over two weeks after falling in the Moose Jaw high school league final, the Rockets went undefeated on their home courts on their way to winning the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association 3A boys provincial championship this past weekend.
Assiniboia did it in style, too, dropping only two sets throughout the tournament on their way to claiming gold.
The Rockets wasted little time getting off to a good start, opening with a 25-22, 25-20 win over Carnduff on Friday afternoon. Things only got better from there, as Assiniboia rolled to a 25-10, 25-15 win over Outlook and defeated Regina Christian School 25-12, 25-11 to wrap up play on the first day.
Assiniboia then closed out the round robin with one of their closest games of the tournament Saturday morning, prevailing 25-18, 18-25, 15-11 over Saskatoon Christian School.
That was good enough to send the Rockets into the playoff round as the top seed out of Pool B, and they left nothing to chance in their quarter-final contest, blowing out Dalmeny 25-7, 25-11 to ensure they’d have a chance to play for a medal.
As it turns out, the colour of that hardware would be gold after Assiniboia continued their dominance, defeating Unity 25-18, 25-17 in their semifinal match.
On the other end of the bracket, Osler VCA was also on a roll. They’d swept through their preliminary round pool without dropping a set and gotten past Regina Christian 25-18, 25-16 in their first playoff game.
Osler’s semifinal was much closer, though, as they’d battle to a 21-25, 25-15, 15-13 victory over Saskatoon Christian to punch their ticket to the gold medal game.
As one would expect from two teams with records that good, the final was a barnburner.
Assiniboia won the opening set 25-18 before falling 25-21 in the second, setting up a winner-takes-the-province third set. Assiniboia would prevail 15-9 in that contest, touching off a raucous celebration in the Assiniboia Composite High School gym.
Saskatoon Christian would defeat Unity 25-19, 9-25, 15-13 for bronze.
Things didn’t go as well for the city champion Vanier Vikings and Central Cyclones at the 4A boys championship in Meadow Lake.
Vanier posted a 3-1 round robin record, defeating Central 25-15, 25-19 in their opener before rolling to a 25-8, 25-14 win over Prince Albert Collegiate and defeating Saskatoon Marion Graham 25-10, 25-23 to finish Friday with a 3-0 record.
The Vikings ran into the defending provincial champion North Battleford John Paul II Crusaders in their final preliminary game Saturday and fell 25-22, 25-19.
As the second seed in Pool B, Vanier faced Melville in their quarter-final and took a 26-24, 25-19 win, setting up a semifinal match with the host Meadow Lake Carpenter Spartans. Vanier would lose a heartbreaker in that game 25-20, 26-24, and would then drop a 25-16, 25-19 decision to the Melfort Comets in the bronze medal game.
Central bounced back from their opening loss to Vanier with a 25-16, 25-23 win over Marion Graham and closed out Friday play at 1-2 after falling 25-10, 25-17 to North Battleford.
Things went much better in their final round-robin game against Prince Albert, where the Cyclones took a 25-17, 25-16 win to finish third in Pool B at 2-2.
That was good enough for a quarter-final match-up with Melfort, where the Cyclones would drop a 25-22, 25-19 decision.
The 4A boys final was a rematch of the gold medal game from 2021 played at Vanier, but the result was the other way around -- Meadow Lake would claim gold with a 25-22, 25-18 win over North Battleford.