Drillers claw back to down Cougars
Basketball: Oilfields senior girls rally to win home tournament
Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017 06:00 am
It ain’t over until it’s over — even if it means going into overtime.
The Oilfields Drillers won their own Black and Gold Senior Girls Basketball Classic when they downed the Calgary Christian Cougars 74-68 in the final Saturday in Black Diamond.
The Drillers had to dig deep to win the final.
“We were down by about 18 in the third quarter — Calgary Christian was looking really good and they had a lot of speed,” said Drillers coach Kyle Rawson. “We took it one possession at a time and used the most of our possessions while shutting them down.”
The Drillers got within striking distance and they took the lead by three when Oilfields’ Shannon White hit a three-pointer from about Hartell with less than 10 second left.
However, Calgary Christian did not go gently in that good night.
“Their star player hit a three with about five seconds to tie it and put it into overtime — it was really quite exciting,” Rawson said.
The Drillers showed veteran poise as they went into overtime in front of a loud, supportive home crowd.
“We were able to calm our emotions down and relax and treat the overtime like any portion of the game,” Rawson said. “Our girls showed a lot of composure towards the end of the game.
“We kept the goal in sight.”
White gave the Drillers important buckets down the homestretch. Brielle Goss and Nikita Palamar were monsters on the boards as well as at setting up the offence.
“But overall, it was a team-effort,” Rawson said. “Everyone put in the effort and the work and it turned out well for us.”
The Drillers opened the tournament by dominating the County Central Hawks from Vulcan.
Oilfields then got a taste of revenge when they downed the Bassano Mustangs in the semifinal.
“Bassano won JV zones which we hosted last season and our girls wanted to definitely have a good game against them,” Rawson said.
The tournament was proof that Oilfields can more than compete against schools their own size.
They had earlier dropped a 50-34 decision to the larger Holy Trinity Academy Knights in a Foothills Athletic Council game on Dec. 13 in Black Diamond.
“I think the main difference for the girls was getting back to the reason they play basketball — to have fun on the court,” Rawson added. “The girls were picking each other up and being positive.
“The whole mentality of the team was good from start to finish for the tournament.”
White, a forward, saw some positive things in the loss to HTA.
“We play hard and we never give up,” she said after the game. “We have a lot of first year players and I feel we have stepped up our game… We are starting to play together.”
She admitted playing HTA is tough.
“They are physically taller than us and we have to work hard against them,” she said. “It’s overall helping our team to play together.”
The Drillers, who are returning to senior varsity ball after taking last year off, opened the season by winning a bronze medal at a tournament Calgary.
The Drillers are now off for the Christmas break. Their next FAC game is Feb. 7 when they host the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans.