Cyclones flatten Cougars

Matthew Gourlie
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Central hits triple-figures in impressive display

An issue with the power adapter on the new Central scoreboard forced them to move their season-opener Tuesday.

Central's Bailey Wong, left, reaches around Caronport's Thomas Tunall to make a pass into the key Thursday night in Moose Jaw High School Basketball League action.

Thursday the Cyclones made sure they gave their new scoreboard a good workout.

The Cyclones beat the Caronport Cougars 106-31 in Moose Jaw High School Senior Boys Basketball League action to improve their record to 2-0 on the season.

“The guys progressed a little bit from Tuesday in terms of ball control and aggressiveness. The bench did a little better than they did last time too in terms of turnovers and some things like that. We just have to keep moving in the right direction,” said Central head coach Leigh Pethick.

The Cyclones defence held the Cougars to nine points in the two middle quarters. Their strong defence proved to be a catalyst for their offence.

“We’ve been working in practice on switching defences on the go — from man to zone to trap — and we’ve been letting them know with hand signals,” said Pethick. “Offensively we’ve been trying to get the ball wide and let them find our big guys inside and they did a good job of that in the first half.”

Caronport got off to a solid start and only trailed 12-7 midway through the opening quarter. Then the Cyclones went on a 20-2 in little more than four minutes to pull away.

“The defence was good. We were struggling on that against Vanier (on Tuesday), but we worked on it in practice and I thought we were better today,” said Caleb Havanka who had seven of those 20 points and forced a number of turnovers on defence for the Cyclones. “We were moving the ball well and passing and that led to us scoring points.”

The Cyclones transition game was lethal in the first half and when they dialed down the defensive pressure a notch in the second half they were still able to score plenty with their half-court offence. Dax Whitehead scored 16 points in the first quarter and finished with 27 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter. Aidan Saladana scored 16 points, Dalton Wolfe had 14 points, while Ali Shahidi added 10 more.

Jonny Toews led the Cougars with 10 points.

The Cyclones led 89-18 after three quarters, but the Cougars didn’t hang their heads. Instead they played their closest quarter of the game in the fourth.

“It seems like we always have our first game of the season here at Central. It’s become a bit of a tradition,” said Cougars head coach George Willatt.

“We’ve got a few experienced guys and then a lot of guys who are inexperienced guys. I’ve already seen some good improvement on the court and some good effort and some good hustle.”

The Cougars will look for further improvements when they host their boys and girls basketball tournament this weekend. The field will feature eight teams in each division with Regina Christian, Yorkton Sacred Heart, Clavet, Moosomin, Birch Hills, Indian Head and Coronach represented.

“They’ll brush it off quickly. They play tomorrow at 5:30, so we’re back on the floor in less than 24 hours,” said Willatt whose team is expected to be in the 2A classification this season.

The Cyclones will also hit the highway this weekend when they attend the Saskatoon Centennial tournament. They will open against Saskatoon Marian Graham, the team they beat in the 4A regional final a year ago to advance to Hoopla.

“I think after we go to Saskatoon we’ll see some of our weaknesses and some things we need to work on,” said Havanka.

Organizations: Moose Jaw High School Senior Boys Basketball League

Geographic location: Birch Hills, Indian Head, Saskatoon

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