It was a weekend full of gold for the Strathmore High School Spartans Basketball Teams, as the Sr. Boys, Sr. Girls, and JV boys teams all won first place at their respective tournaments. For the boys, they marched into the Cochrane Classic and put on an impressive showing, while the girls travelled to West Island College and took home gold there.
Winning gold is always a great feeling, but Sr. Boys Head Coach Matt Laslo explained the win was even sweeter for his team, as it was their first tournament win of the year after many close calls with two second-place finishes and one third-place finish so far. On top of that, beating the rival Cochrane Cobras on their court is the cherry on top.
"It's always nice to beat Cochrane. Anytime you can go there and beat them in their own gym is pretty awesome. They're a pretty respectable team, they're always good, and always competitive. To be able to beat them, let alone beat them at home in the tournament final of their own tournament is always a pretty big achievement for us," Laslo said.
The Sr. Boys have enjoyed a strong season so far, as they are currently ranked third in the province in the 3A category (schools between 300-800 students) and hope to make some noise in the provincials. However, to get there they'll have to make it out of the South Central zone, which Laslo says will be a big challenge.
"Three of the top ten teams are just in our zone, and then we got two honorable mention teams in our zone, so it's always hard to get out of our zone to make the provincial tournament. But I would say we have a pretty good shot this year if we keep playing the way that we are."
As for the Sr. Girls, Head Coach Dion Galandy said his team has also had great success, going 16-3 on the season so far and winning two golds and two silvers, including their most recent gold. For Gallandy, he says winning gold is certainly a great accomplishment, but it's also the expectation the team sets for themselves.
"We're going in to win games. We're not going in to try to be competitive, we're trying to win," Galandy said.
Like the Sr. Boys, the Sr. Girls are also ranked third in the province and hope to show they belong in the provincials. As they prepare for the last couple weeks before the zone tournament in March, Galandy says the girls will continue to work on improving however they can.
"The mindset is that we just need to do the little things that make us successful. We need to make sure that we're paying attention to the small details because that's where we end up making differences between opponents and one of the things I often say to the girls is that it's one possession that can make a difference in a game."
Both the boys and girls will have a chance to continue their success in front of their home crowd next week, as Strathmore High School will be hosting their next tournament this weekend. While the teams give it their all every week, Galanday says there's always a bit more motivation and excitement to play well for your home crowd in front of family and friends.
"They're very hyped, they recognize that this is a good opportunity for us to play well and play as we expect to play, which is with a lot of effort and a lot of conviction to try to win. It's pretty cool to be a part of."
On Friday the Sr. Boys will play at 11:15 a.m. before the Sr. girls take the court at 1:15 p.m. The outcome of those games will determine how Saturday's schedule will look, to cheer on the teams on Saturday you can visit their website or Instagram page for the live update once they know what the schedule will look like.
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