The Bert Church Chargers and W.H Croxford Cavaliers senior basketball teams kicked off their 2017-18 seasons in a cross-city showdown with each school taking one of the decisions.
The Cavaliers girls drew first blood in the series when it took a closely contested 51-46 victory over the host Chargers Dec. 5 to show the rest of the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) the school, in just its second year of having a senior team, was ready to make an impact.
“It’s always a great start – you go into the season, get that first win and it makes life a little bit easier in terms of getting morale up and a boost moving on in the season,” said Aaron Nisbett, Cavaliers senior girls head coach. “We kept going. We didn’t stop, especially when Bert Church closed the gap.
“It is a good start for the season.”
The Cavaliers jumped out to an early start taking a 27-19 lead into halftime. Even with a late surge from the Chargers in the third quarter when the hosts closed the gap to 39-36, the Cavaliers muscled through in the final 10 minutes en route to the season-opening victory.
For the Chargers, the loss was a disappointing setback but Chargers senior girls’ head coach Andy Kirk said his team showed tenacity and battled through some key injuries to remain close to its opponent.
The win was a massive one for the Cavaliers as it knocked off the two-time RVSA runners-up in a hard-fought battle.
“Team’s change every year, but anytime you’re going up against a team that does have the history of success as Bert Church…it’s always fun to play them and even more fun to win,” Nisbett said.
In the second game of the series, the Chargers senior boys were the road team against the Cavaliers Dec. 6, where, despite a slow start that saw the Cavaliers jump out to an early advantage, the Chargers defeated its Airdrie rivals 88-50.
The Cavs held a slight edge over Bert Church through the first half of the first quarter, but the Chargers roared back to take a 19-16 lead after the first 10 minutes.
“The boys should have been ready, there is no excuse. We’ve got to come out ready to play right from the tip off,” said Chargers senior boys head coach Mike Sera. “We started slow and gave the team momentum and that hurts us. We’ve got to come out strong.
“Croxford played hard for the full game, but especially that first half. In the third quarter we started to wear them down a bit.”
After the close first quarter, the Chargers blew open the game, scoring 21 points in the second, 30 in the third and 18 points in the fourth, to kick off its campaign with an impressive win.
Although he was happy with his team’s victory, Sera said he wanted to see a better effort at the start of the game and the team needs to be even better defensively if it hopes to be a contender in a tight RVSA this season.
“We did some good things tonight, but there are a lot of things we did decently that we’ve got to improve on,” Sera said.
Although the young Cavaliers took a tough defeat in its season opener, head coach Jade Chausse said her team would be able to learn from the loss.
“It’s early on (in the season). There has been a lot of transition on our team,” Chausse said. “This was a mental game for us in being able to go the distance mentally.
“There will be some growing pains here and reflective thoughts on tonight’s loss.”