Vanier pushes sluggish Toilers

Matthew Gourlie
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The Peacock Toilers were fighting two foes Thursday: rust and a determined Vanier Vikings team.

Eric Forbes from the Peacock Toilers slashes to the basket for two of his 16 points on the night against the Vanier Vikings Thursday.

The Toilers shook off their rust faster than they were able to shake off the Vikings. In the end they were able to pull away from Vanier for a comfortable 97-64 win in Moose Jaw senior boys high school basketball action.

“I give Vanier a lot of credit for pushing us out of our lethargy,” said Peacock head coach Bryan Adams. “Vanier shot the ball well, they really worked hard and did a lot of good things. They helped push us out of the Christmas rust. That’s what you need. If they don’t play with any energy, like we didn’t, then neither of us get anything out of it.”

The game was tied late in the second quarter before Peacock took a 41-33 lead into half time. Vanier kept it tight and only trailed 65-54 after three quarters when Peacock’s depth and tempo finally wore down Vanier.

“I’m really happy with our effort,” said Vanier coach David Tardif. “It was a little frustrating at the end. We were just a bit depleted in the fourth quarter when the floodgates opened.

“Our goal was to take it to them. We know they’re a talented team with a deep bench. That can be intimidating to some teams, but we were focused on not letting that get to us and to play our game.”

Vanier came out with confidence and shot the ball well early. They attacked Peacock and tried to take the game to the Toilers.

“We just tried to play our game. We were really mentally prepared this time,” said Tardif. “We know we can stand toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the province. It’s really good for us. We know Peacock can play a better game and that every time we match up with them we have to play the game of our lives.”

Zach Konopaki and Zeb Smith each scored 16 points for the Vikings who also got 14 points from Austin Warren.

The Toilers scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter as they began to run the floor and use their transition game for some easy baskets.

“We didn’t have too much going for us — to say the least — for about half the game. Then we got a couple of kids who started the energy and rippled through everybody and I thought we finished strong,” said Adams.

Eric Forbes led the Toilers with 16 points and Ryder Epoch added 13 points.

Peacock will take part in the 53rd Annual Senior Boys Invitational Basketball Tournament starting today. They will host Meadow Lake at 5:30 p.m. in one of the quarter-finals. Central hosts North Battleford at 3:30 p.m. in the other local action.

“I expect some great competition,” said Adams. “I think we have the best people in our division this year are all going to be here this weekend. It’s still very early in the year, but now everybody can have a bit of a measuring stick to see where you’re at and what you need to improve upon.”

Vanier will be in Estevan for a tournament and they hope that they can build off of their performance in the league play this weekend.

In senior girls basketball action Thursday, the Caronport Cougars beat the Assiniboia Rockets 61-41. Lauren Janzen led the Cougars with 12 points, while Marisa Hartman added 10. Amy Cook scored 10 points to lead the Rockets.

Organizations: Vikings

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Meadow Lake, North Battleford Estevan

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