Rivals battle for more than bragging rights
Basketball: Foothills-HTA to raise money for cance research at Thursday's games
Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017 06:00 am
Some things are bigger than a basketball game, even if it’s a match between rivals from the same town.
Proceeds from the Holy Trinity Academy Knights-Foothills Falcons basketball games on Thursday at HTA will go towards fighting cancer.
“Everyone has to pay a toonie to get in and that will go towards cancer research,” said Knights girls basketball coach Scott Royce. “The big thing that Vince (Foothills Falcon Vince Hunter) and I are trying to get across is it is two schools but it is one community.”
He said there isn’t one person in the Foothills community who hasn’t been affected by cancer.
“We are just trying to emphasize that we are all in Okotoks together,” Royce said.
Several of the players from both teams were also members of the Foothills basketball club.
“What I do know is they’re going to be very well coached, Scott is a fabulous coach,” said Falcons coach Vince Hunter. “I’ve coached a couple of those kids in community basketball and have gotten to know a lot of them because their parents are involved with basketball and what I expect is a really well disciplined team.
“They’re going to be in great shape and strong inside, they’ve always play really hard under the boards.”
Although friends, the Knights-and Falcons will be like Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Coyote of Warner cartoon fame — friends off the court, but once they punch the clock, it’s all business.
“Those kids on that team are all good friends with the kids on our team and vice versa and Scott and I are good friends with a real mutual respect for each other,” Hunter added. “It’s going to be a clash of kids who know each other, coaches who know each other and we’re going to play really hard and our community is going to see great basketball.”
The Falcons have Royce a bit concerned.
“Foothills beat Chestermere and they are very strong,” Royce said.
The Knights have proved they are strong as well. They won their own tournament in early December and then the Red Deer Catholic tourney Dec. 9.
They came up just short last weekend, losing to host Bishop Carroll at the Cardinals tournament Dec. 15-16.
“This was the third week in a row we were in a final but this time we came up just short,” Royce said. “I was really proud of our girls. In the last game we had two major players not in the line-up, Lauren Sinclair didn’t play and neither did Breanne Trotter. That was huge in terms of rebounding.”
The Knights opened the tournament with a convincing 75-37 victory over the Dr. EP Scarlett Lancers. Grade 11 sensation Jordan Bonertz led the way with 20 points while Trotter, who was named game MVP, finished with 14.
HTA was able to advance to the final by knocking off a tough William Aberhart Orange squad 78-65. The Bonertz sisters, Jordan and Skylar, finished with 30 and 11 points respectively.
Tiana Miller was named the Knights Game MVP
The Knights then lost to Carroll 68-29, with Kailey Morrison being named HTA’s game star.
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights and Foothills Falcons are going into the boys’ tilt on Thursday on a high note.
The Falcons finished second at a Medicine Hat tournament Dec. 15-16 while the Knights swept a home-and-home series against the Lord Beaverbrook Lords.
The Falcons went 3-0 in Medicine Hat before losing to Lester B. Pearson Patriots 83-62 in the final.
“The final didn’t go as well as we wanted,” Falcons head coach Amron Gwilliam said. “In the second half we were a step slow and couldn’t hit a shot. We couldn’t get it together.”
They will have to have it together for HTA on Thursday.
“I have not seen HTA at all,” Gwilliam said. “In the last few they have been way bigger than us. I know they have the Cyr kid (Justin Cyr) back and he has a lot of talent.
“I am expecting HTA to be quite good this year.”
The Knights also know they are in for a tough game.
“I know they are a little bit shorter, but they are quick and they move the ball well,” said HTA head coach Sam Aiello.
Tip off for the Thursday’s game at HTA is 7:15 p.m. The Falcons will also host the Notre Dame Pride on Dec. 20 at 7:15 p.m.