The March Madness version of the provincial high school championships rattles the rim Thursday.
The 4A women’s basketball tournament, hosted by the Jasper Place Rebels, includes home games for the St. Albert Skyhawks and Paul Kane Blues in the round of 16.
The Skyhawks, the No. 1 seed at provincials, host the No. 16 Charles Spencer Mavericks of Grande Prairie at 11 a.m. and the No. 10 Paul Kane Blues welcome the No. 7 Magrath Pandas at 9 a.m.
The SkyDome is also the venue for the 9 a.m. match between the No. 5 Centennial Coyotes of Calgary, the defending provincial champions, and the No.12 Cardston Cougars while Paul Kane is the site for the 11 a.m. contest between the No. 3 Western Canada Redhawks of Calgary and the No. 14 Foothills Falcons of Okotoks.
The Skyhawks and Paul Kane also play their second games of the tournament Thursday.
The Skyhawks will face the No. 8 Lethbridge Collegiate Institute Clippers or the No. 9 St. Mary’s Saints of Calgary in the quarter-finals at 8 p.m. at Jasper Place.
Paul Kane is up against the No. 2 Bishop Carroll Cardinals of Calgary, last year’s silver medallists, or the No. 15 Lindsay Thurber Raiders of Red Deer in the 6 p.m. quarter-finals or 4 p.m. in the consolation bracket.
In the championship bracket, the semifinals are 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday the bronze-medal game is 2 p.m. and the gold-medal final is 6 p.m.
Visit www.asaa.ca for the draw and results.
Last year in Medicine Hat, the No. 2 Skyhawks edged the No. 5 Rebels 58-56 for bronze and No. 8 Paul Kane defeated No. 11 St. Mary’s 80-45 in the consolation final for fifth place at provincials.
The Skyhawks are winners of 18 in a row after beating the Rebels 69-49 in the March 2 metro Edmonton division one final for a second-straight playoff banner while going 13-0 in league play and 26-5 overall.
Paul Kane is 9-3 as division one semifinalists and 18-9 overall.
The Morinville Wolves and Sturgeon Spirits tip off the 3A provincial women’s tournament Thursday in Athabasca.
The Wolves, slotted fifth in the third 3A provincial rankings of the season, are in action at 2:15 p.m. against the All Saints of Calgary.
Sturgeon, ranked sixth in 3A, is up against the host Edwin Parr Predators at 12:30 p.m.
The next game for the Wolves is 9:15 p.m. Thursday against the No. 4 McCoy Colts of Medicine in the quarter-finals or 9 a.m. Friday against the No. 9 Holy Rosary Raiders of Lloydminster or Beaverlodge Royals in the ninth/10th consolation bracket.
Sturgeon will face the No. 3 St. Peter the Apostle Spartans of Spruce Grove in the 7:30 p.m. Thursday quarter-finals or will play at 10:45 a.m. Friday against No. 8 St. Joseph of Red Deer or Brooks in the ninth/10th consolation bracket.
Visit www.asaa.ca for the 12-team provincial draw.
Last year at Cochrane, the Wolves finished sixth as the No. 7 seed and Sturgeon placed 10th as the No. 6 seed.
The Wolves return to provincials as the repeat winners of the North Central zone championship with a record of 21-7.
Seeded first out of six teams at zones last weekend in Drayton Valley, the Wolves posted wins of 59-45 against the No. 5 Barrhead Gryphons and 76-51 against the No. 2 Parkland Pacers of Edson in the final.
A two-week break before zones showed in the semifinal as the Wolves struggled at times against Barrhead. Alicia Diberardino scored 18 points and pulled in nine rebounds and Hayley Deveau added eight points.
The final against Parkland, a 3A honourable mention, was never in doubt. The Wolves frustrated their opponents defensively with a relentless Leanne VanBrabant leading the charge.
Pacing the attack was a pair of Grade 12 guards as Jenna McKinney generated 14 points and eight rebounds and Laura Stalzer potted 15 points.
Jordan Hessell, a St. Albert Skyhawk in Grade 10, was stellar in the post position with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Sturgeon returns to provincials after downing the No. 10 Oscar Romero Ravens in Thursday’s metro Edmonton zone semifinals.
Sturgeon joins St. Peter the Apostle as the metro Edmonton reps at provincials. Friday’s snowstorm cancelled the zone final between the two teams.
In the metro Edmonton division two league, St. Peter the Apostle (11-2) was the playoff finalist and in the quarter-finals Sturgeon (7-4) lost 73-59 to the Memorial Marauders (8-4) of Stony Plain and the Ravens (6-6) also bowed out in the round of eight.
Last year Sturgeon won the division two championship while going 12-1 before making its provincial debut as the zone finalist.
Sturgeon is the host team for the 2020 provincials.
FREE THROWS: The No. 1 men’s seed at the North Central zones suffered an 87-79 loss to No. 2 Parkland in Saturday’s final in Morinville.
The Wolves entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead but went cold offensively while Parkland piled up the points.
Parkland plays a physical style of game and the Wolves had trouble matching up to their bigger and stronger opponents.
Matt Osunde was the top player for the Wolves with 33 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Jacob Christensen contributed 13 points and 19 rebounds and Russ Foisy chipped in with 11 points, three assists and two rebounds.
In the last 3A rankings before provincials, the Wolves were an honourable mention and Parkland was unranked.
In the semifinals of the eight-team zone draw, the Wolves cruised past the No. 5 R.F. Staples Thunderbirds of Westlock 85-66 as Christensen led the way with 18 points, three assists and 12 rebounds. Osunde produced 17 points, six assists and 10 rebounds and Foisy provided 15 points, five assists and five rebounds.
The Wolves finished the season at 22-6 as winners of three out of five finals in six tournaments and will return four starters.
At last year’s provincials as the North Central champions, the Wolves placed 10th out of 12 teams for a 16-12 season.