Vikings push past Cougars

Katie Brickman
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Spirits struggle with Cougars’ press in girls action

The Vanier Vikings knew they had to finish aggressively in order to get their second win of the season.

Amanda Miller of the Vanier Spirits drives to the basketball and draws a crowd, including Bronwyn Scheller (left) and Kennedy Kuntz (right) of the Caronport Cougars during senior girls high school basketball action on Tuesday night. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

“It was good to get back in the win column after some tough games,” said David Tardif, coach for Vanier.

The Vikings and Caronport Cougars were tied at 37 at the half time break, but a strong second half pulled the Vanier ahead for the 86-63 victory in senior boys high school basketball action on Tuesday night.

“It took awhile to adjust to their offence. They did a good job at running, cutting and screening and that kept us off balance,” said Tardif. “In the second half, we made those adjustments and applied good pressure that forced them to take tough shots.”

The Cougars hung in tight with the Vikings early, but got beat down low by the size of the posts for Vanier.

“They ran us down late, but their big guys were scoring some points inside,” said George Willatt from Caronport. “We had too many turnovers. We talked about that, but overall, it was a good effort.”

The Cougars were happy with their performance, especially since they scored more points than the last time they saw Vanier, although they did give up more points as well.

“Overall, I was happy with the way our guys battled and we are continuing to improve and continue to work,” said Willatt.

Top scorers were Austin Warren with 29 points for Vanier and in the loss, Aaron Adrian had 36 points.

In senior girls action, the Caronport Cougars used their press to defeat the Vanier Spirits.

Vanier struggled to shoot early and the Cougars took a big lead, eventually cruising to a 93-56 victory.

"Our press is really our game. As soon as we pull out of it, we just like of die,” said Leigh Wolverton, coach for Caronport. "We have problems with just a half court. We have to run - it is just in them."

The Cougars used this game to continue their recent surge of momentum late in the season.

"We feel good about where we are at going down the stretch,” said Wolverton.

For the Spirits, some had tear stained faces because of the disappointment of losing in their final home game of their high school careers.

However, the veterans still believe this young team has improved and will continue to get better.

"I feel like they have gained more confidence throughout the season,” said Mackenzie Johnson of Vanier. “If you look at the beginning of the year, they were scared, but now they have learned how hard this league is and how hard they have to play in succeed."

McKenzie Murdoch is a Grade 12 and feels she has even improved since last season but it is all about learning to push boundaries.

"It is also about learning your skill set and learning to get out of your comfort zone,” she said. “Coach (Greg) Reidy always says to play within the skill set but continue to push those limits."

Top scorers were Karis Fawcett with 19 points for Caronport and Mackenzie Johnson had 12 points in the loss.

In other senior girls action, Peacock defeated Assiniboia 66-33 with Libby Epoch scoring 18 points of and Sierra Jordison scoring 11 points. 

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