CCHS gets banner to hang 0
By Russ Ullyot
The Canmore Collegiate High School boys basketball has another banner to hang in the high school gymnsasium.
The Junior Varsity squad lived up to its top ranking at the South Central Zone championships, winning all three games to best the eight-team event held at CCHS on Friday and Saturday.
Luke Praught but together three successive 30-plus point performances as the CCHS Crusaders defeated Brooks 88-57, Chestermere 74-45 and Bert Church of Airdrie 66-59.
"We have been working for that all year, so it was good to see the work pay off," said Praught, who scored 39 points in the team's opening victory and followed it up with 36- and 30-point performances.
"The shots were falling," said Praught, who at six-foot-one and 160 pounds plays small forward.
While the first two games were decidedly lop-sided, Bert Church pushed CCHS right up until the final few minutes of the contest.
"We knew they were going to give us a fight, as we had played them once before," said Head Coach Mike Langlois. That was a 19-point win over the Airdrie squad at its own tournament in early February.
Bert Church led from the opening tip-off until the final quarter of the contest. The lead switched back and forth midway through the final quarter.
"At that stage, the game could have gone either way," said Langlois, who thought conditioning proved the difference in the end.
"At the end, (Bert Church) ran out of gas and we didn't. We do a lot of running throughout the year. . We have always told the boys they need to push themselves and at the end of the year it paid off."
The Crusaders finished the season with 25 wins and six losses, with five tournament championships including this past weekend.
"It is always nice to win the last tournament, because it is the biggest tournament," said Langlois.
The victory means either the JV or senior boys have put up a zone championship banner in the school gym each of the last three years.
"You always have a few guys that just love playing the game, two or three guys that just can't get enough basketball, but this year I had six or seven guys that just love playing the game," said Langlois. "When you love it, you just can't get enough of it and that is probably the difference maker."
The senior team, ranked No. 5 in the province at the 3A level, and playing in a zone that featured the top two ranked teams in Alberta, Cochrane and Chestermere, saw its season come to and end on the weekend.
The senior boys began their zone championship, with hopes of getting to the provincial championships and started with a win over Springbank last Wednesday, March 7, but lost to the No. 2-ranked team in the province, Chestermere, in a physically demanding game on Thursday.
"We ran into some injuries and concussions in the game (with Chestermere) and that sort of ended our season," said Head Coach Chad McClenaghan. "We were winning for most the game, but some injuries and then one of my players took an elbow to the head and had to be helped out of the game. We sort of fell apart after that."
A loss to Olds on Friday ended the season.
McClenaghan is already planning for next season when several of the JV boys move into the senior program.
"We have a good crew coming back from the senior teams and with a really strong contingent coming up from the JV boys, I am looking forward to coaching those boys," said McClenaghan. "We are looking really good for next year. Maybe one of the strongest teams in the zone, if not the province."