Following a disappointing setback to the George McDougall Mustangs prior to the exam break, the Bert Church Chargers bounced back in a big way when it returned to action Jan. 31.
“It was a great win for us,” said head coach Michael Sera. “Anytime you lose, you come back and make adjustments. We need to continue to do that.”
The game got off to a quick start, but an arm injury to Charger’s forward Riley Koppang put the game on hold for 45 minutes midway through the opening quarter.
Koppang was tended to and taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a broken arm. Sera said his athletes stayed strong for their fallen teammate and remained focused on the game during the extended delay.
When play restarted, the Chargers were a determined force, dictating the pace and taking the lead against the home squad.
“The team came back and responded to that well,” Sera said. “They were devastated by the injury, but rallied and made it a goal to play hard.”
Holding a 20-point advantage at halftime, the Chargers refused to let its opponent close the gap, and defeated the Lakers 77-57 for its third win of the season. The win allowed the Chargers to reclaim second place in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA).
Although his team came away with the victory, Sera said it will be missing a key piece for the foreseeable future with Koppang out of the lineup. However, he added he has full confidence in the squad moving forward.
“Obviously it’s a huge loss, but in the same breath, the challenge is now guys are going to have to step up,” Sera said. “We’re going to have to figure out as a team how to make up his minutes and his points.”
With just a few weeks remaining in the regular season, pressure is on the Chargers to remain ranked in the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) 3A rankings.
In mid-January when the first rankings were revealed, the Chargers were ranked sixth among 3A schools in Alberta, but have since dropped decisions in regular season and tournament play.
With rankings playing a more important part in provincial standings, Sera said it’s imperative the team’s focus remains ironclad on finishing the regular season strong.
“It definitely puts a target on your back when you’re ranked, you definitely have to perform well,” Sera said. “Ranking doesn’t make a difference at all unless you make it to provincials. You can be ranked all year, and if you don’t make it to provincials then you’re just a team that didn’t go anywhere.
“We’ve still got to keep our goals in mind, we want to do well in (the RVSA) and come out of Rocky View with a divisional championship. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, but we know we’re in a tough league.”
The Chargers wraps up its RVSA regular season Feb. 14, when it plays host to the undefeated Cochrane Cobras in a potential battle for first. Game time is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.