Peacock surges to Invitational title

Matthew Gourlie
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Peacock basketball coach Renee Verge spoke all weekend about wanting her team to explode offensively.

Two offensive explosions by the Peacock Toilers were more than the Warman Wolverines could handle Saturday night. The Toilers went off in the fourth quarter to earn a 79-64 in the final of the Moose Jaw Invitational Senior Girls Basketball Tournament.

“We’ve always told the girls when you’re off, you have to continue to shoot. We were off. A lot of those shots weren’t falling in the first half, but they did in the fourth quarter and that was a big difference in the game,” said Verge.

Peacock used a 19-2 run to start the fourth quarter to break a close game wide open.

The Toilers have been to three tournaments so far this season and they have played — and beaten — Warman in all of them.

Peacock got off to the start they were looking for as they took a 23-8 lead after a quarter. Still, given their previous experience against the tenacious Wolverines, they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy night.

“We’ve exploded every game we’ve played them. We’ve been able to get off to a really solid start and I thought that was crucial because that is a team that will always claw back,” said Verge. “We’ve been challenged every time we’ve played this team. I turned (to assistant coach Penny Maelde) when we were up 18 and said ‘this game is far from over’ and a quarter later we were only up by three.”

Warman scored 30 points in the second quarter and trailed 41-38 at the half. They tied the game in the third quarter, but Peacock led by three heading into the fourth.

“We let them get some transition points off of us in the second quarter that got them back in the game, so we tried to make some defensive adjustments,” said Verge. “We had to really dig in. We were really challenged. We got into a little foul trouble and I thought we worked through that very well.”

Peacock led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter as they ran away with the game after Warman fought back. Peacock point guard Libby Epoch scored 13 of her game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter and felt the way they overcame a poor second quarter was a good character builder for the team.

“It really strengthens our team as a individuals and as teammates to know that we can get through those kind of slumps,” said Epoch.

Both teams were in foul trouble by the third quarter. Peacock post Caitlyn Kitts picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter and Macaela Crone picked up her third in the third quarter as well. Both stayed in the game and didn’t pick up another foul in the final 14 minutes.

Warman’s speedy point guard Chelsea Misskey fouled out with 5:27 left in the game.

“It was all about out-working the other team and that’s what we did,” said Epoch of their fourth quarter surge. “We really had to dig deep and push our defence because our offence wasn’t going well. It all started on defence.”

Crone added 22 points for Peacock and played a big role in their fast start.

Faith Reid led Warman with 24 points, while six-one post Janaya Brown had 19 points.

The two teams are probably not done with each other yet. Peacock is going to Warman’s tournament at the end of the month and then both teams are going to Meadow Lake’s tournament the weekend before the conference playoffs. Which is to say nothing of a possible meeting at the Hoopla provincial championships.

“They’re a very good team. We really enjoy playing them. They’re well-coached and they’re a very clean team,” said Warman coach Betty Bird. “We’re always getting a little better and this was probably our best game against them.”

While there are bigger goals ahead of them, the Toilers were very happy to defend the tournament championship they won a year ago.

“This was one of our goals and we really wanted it bad,” said Epoch. “It feels really good to cross it off of our list.”

Peacock beat Prince Albert St. Mary 65-38 in their semifinal.

Central lost to Regina Luther Saturday morning 54-37, but finished seventh thanks to a 49-31 win over Humboldt. Vanier lost 67-46 to Meath Park on the consolation side and then lost to Meadow Lake to finish off their tournament.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Meadow Lake

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