Falcons get A for effort in tough test
Basketball: Foothills holds its own against fifth-ranked Bulldogs
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 06:00 am
The Foothills Falcons got a major test before the final exam break.
Although the end result doesn’t look that impressive, they got an ‘A’ for effort and were much improved.
The Falcons turned in a gutsy performance in their 76-61 loss to Calgary’s Winston Churchill Bulldogs Thursday at the Foothills Composite.
The Bulldogs are the fifth-ranked team in the province.
“I was still disappointed to lose but this was my favourite 40 minutes of the year,” said Falcons assistant coach Brady Byam. “We are starting to compete and playing together. Tonight they committed to play as a team — a step forward.”
The effort came 24 hours after the Falcons’ lacklustre effort in an 18-point loss to the St. Mary’s Saints in Calgary.
They got a bit of a talking after the Saints’ marched over them.
“The boys played hard,” Byam said. “The game was decided in three minutes when they got a run on us when we didn’t play together as well as we could.
“But Churchill is a very good team, they compete very well. They are one of the biggest teams in the province and they are physically tough.”
It was a dog-eat-dog game against the Bulldogs, with the two teams tied at 11-11 after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs would lead by seven early in the second period, but Foothills would cut the lead to 36-34 with 5:30 left in the half, when Hunter Boriskewich gave a half-court pass to Josh Pahl who dished to Josh Derochie for the layup.
Churchill would take a 48-41 lead in the locker room on the strength of back-to-back threes just before half.
Churchill coach Ian Thompson said the Falcons served notice early they wouldn’t rollover against the Bulldogs.
“Both teams were giving great effort and it was a defensive effort, both teams were very scrappy,” Thompson said.
The ‘Dogs were able to jump out to a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We started to transition our stops into fast breaks and that’s when we started to pull away,” Thompson said. “Foothills has a great team. I was telling their coach how well they play together — the ball never stops.”
He added the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of their size.
“That is our strength on the inside,” he said. “We had some really good rim protection as the game went on.”
Churchill was led by Pelumi Ajayi who had 36 points.
The Falcons top scorers were Tyson Pitcher with 16 and Jaxen Perrett and Derochie with 13 each.
Hunter Boriskewich had one of his best games as a Falcon with nine points and was a force on the boards and with his passing.
“I thought we played really well, but size was a factor,” he said. “It’s just that we have to stay focused for the whole game, not have mental lapses when they go on streaks and we don’t score. We have to be on the same page and hit the open shots when we get the chance.”
He stressed it was a much better team effort against Churchill than what the Falcons turned in against St. Mary’s.
The Falcons received a honourable mention in the rankings that were released last week.
They are off for exams, and they will next play in the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats tournament in Calgary, Feb. 1-3. The Bobcats are the no. 1 ranked 4A team in the province.
The Foothills Falcons girls team did not play last week but were able to snare a 10th place spot in the provincial 4A rankings.