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Elecs senior boys' basketball team second at home tournament

Estevan went 2-1 during their home tournament.
The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs senior boys basketball team finished second at their home tournament.

ESTEVAN - The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs senior boys’ basketball team is hitting their stride at just the right time.

The Elecs finished second at their annual home tournament on Friday and Saturday. Estevan opened with a convincing 91-63 victory over Swift Current in the two teams’ first meeting of the season, and then the Elecs edged their rivals, the Weyburn Comprehensive School Eagles, 74-71 to advance to the final, which they lost 66-60 to Moose Jaw Peacock.

Coach Tanner Kozun said the game against Weyburn was a “gruelling” contest.

“It was definitely a pretty hard-fought game,” said Kozun. “It was a big win for us … given the circumstance of the McLeod [Series] unfolding way it did, not happening this year. So, it turned into an even bigger matchup because that might be the only time we play them the rest of the year.”

The fans were into the game, and it was a fun and exciting contest for the teams.

Estevan was 1-1 this season against Moose Jaw Peacock entering Saturday’s final. Moose Jaw Peacock came out strong and played aggressively on defence, Kozun said, and held a commanding lead late in the third quarter. Estevan fought back to make it a 64-60 game, but Moose Jaw added a couple of late free throws.

“I told the guys going into the fourth, if we’re going to make a push, we have to do it now, and we did. We made it interesting,” said Kozun.  

Kozun noted that all three teams the Elecs faced are in the 5A rural division with ECS, and these games will contribute to rankings for small-city playdowns next month. There are 11 5A teams in Saskatchewan outside of Saskatoon and Regina. 

He was pleased with the Elecs’ ball pressure on defence.

“We’re one of the few teams in the province that will pick up full court and apply ball pressure,” said Kozun. “We like to try to force skill out of other teams, and see if they’re as confident at handling the ball as they appear when they’re not getting pressure.”

Kozun noted that Weyburn has a star player named Tommy Olson who averaged 38 points per game at the ECS tournament, but the Elecs kept him to 28. It’s still a lot for a 40-minute game, but Kozun was pleased with how Estevan handled Weyburn’s star.  

The players did a good job of executing some new offensive sets that were employed in tournament play for the first time this season.

Opposing teams were impressed with the Estevan fans, Kozun said. When the Elecs weren’t playing, the fans would adopt a team as their own and cheer for that squad, adding to the atmosphere of the tournament.

Kozun said ECS had a tough start to the season with games against some tough opponents like Prince Albert Carlton and Regina Riffle, which is the top team in the Queen City. But they have gone 7-2 in their past nine games.

“After the Christmas break, we’ve definitely been playing a lot sharper. Our schedule’s definitely not as difficult as it was earlier in the season, but you can’t play top-five ranked teams all year round,” said Kozun.

The Elecs are gaining confidence, beating other teams at the 5A level and playing better each week leading to regionals. 

He also praised the efforts of Grade 11 student Koen Turner, saying Turner is likely one of the top-10 players in the province.

“He’s just a really fun and exciting player to watch, I’d say, for the community of Estevan,” said Kozun. “There has been a lot of good players to come out of Estevan, and maybe some of the community doesn’t actually know we’ve sent off a lot of kids to college.”

Estevan will compete at a tournament at Prince Albert St. Mary’s this weekend.