Mustangs knock off Chargers; take sole possession of first
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 05:28 pm
In battle of the top two teams in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA), it was the George McDougall Mustangs who came out on top over the Bert Church Chargers on Feb. 7.
Coming into the matchup between the cross-city rivals, both teams were boasting an undefeated 4-0 record in regular season play, but it was the host team that prevailed with a 92-82 win in a game that got closer and tighter as time went on.
“I’m very happy with the result. These guys worked their tails off,” Mustangs head coach JT Thompson said. “I give credit to the (Chargers). They didn’t roll over. We were up by about 20 points and other teams would give up.
“The advice on the bench was do not let up on these guys. You let them sink a couple of threes in a row and they’re right back in it.”
In the early stage of the opening quarter, both teams exchanged baskets until the Mustangs pulled ahead to carry a 19-13 lead after the first quarter.
“We battled and knew how they were going to come out,” Chargers head coach Michael Sera said. “They threw everything at us and we weathered the storm and then battled back.
“I told them to walk out of that game with their heads held high.”
In the second, the Mustangs continued to power past the Chargers, but Bert Church’s defence started to give the Mustangs fits and helped its team pull back to an eight-point deficit heading into halftime with the score at 43-35.
The Mustangs league-leading offence continued to roll early in the second half, jumping out to a healthy lead over the Chargers, with players like Dawson Funk and Justin Bragg finding their groove and scoring points for the team.
The Chargers, which plays a style based on remaining close with its opponents and making comebacks when needed, roared back against the hosts to continue to put pressure on the Mustangs.
McKay Sera made a case for his team, when he started draining three-pointers midway through the third to help his team back to within eight points of the Mustangs. The Mustangs continued to lead the Chargers 68-60 heading into the fourth and final quarter.
“We didn’t stop playing and the guys buckled down and went to work,” Sera said. “McKay had a good offensive night. He came out and that was his best shooting performance of the season by far.
“He got us back into it and that was a boost.”
In the final quarter, both team’s offences managed to handle the others defence, but it was the Mustangs that found the basket more in the final 10 minutes, en route to the 92-82 win, headlined by the play of second years Funk and Bragg who finished with 28 and 25 points respectively and had a combined nine of their team’s 22 rebounds.
“You start to see as the year progresses, the big guys are going to make big plays when you need it,” Thompson said.
With the win, the Mustangs now take sole possession of first in the RVSA with its unblemished 5-0 record. George McDougall concludes its regular season Feb. 14 when it heads on the road to take on the 1-4 Bow Valley Bobcats.
Although his team is the heavy favourite heading into the game, Thompson said he is not looking past his final opponents.
“We don’t take anybody for granted. That’s our new rule after losing to Springbank last year,” Thompson said. “We’re going to come in, press these guys and work hard.”
For the Chargers, the team drops to 4-1 and into a tie for second place with the defending RVSA champion Chestermere Lakers.
The Chargers will also finish up its regular season Feb. 14 when it plays host to the same Lakers its tied with to see who takes second in the RVSA and earn a first round bye in the post-season.
“We have to come to play,” Sera said. “That team is tough, we’re going to have to play hard (to secure second place).”