Cyclones return to league final

Katie Brickman
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Vikings look to future after loss

The Central Cyclones will be looking for the four-peat next week.

Tristan Diggins from Vanier tries to blow past Ali Shahidi from Central during senior boys high school playoff action on Wednesday night. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Cyclones cruised to an 88-57 victory over the Vanier Vikings in senior boys basketball semifinal action on Wednesday, sending them to the league final.

“This was about getting things the way we want them and execution on offence,” said Leigh Pethick, head coach for Central. “Just making sure that everyone is doing their jobs and that we are doing our jobs. I am happy with it and I think this is the biggest deficit we’ve held against Vanier this year.”

It was a close contest early on, but the Cyclones were able to pad their lead to 21-point lead at the half time break and the Vikings couldn’t get any closer.

“I am happy how we came out in the first quarter,” said David Tardif, head coach for Vanier. “We kept with them by playing strong defence, but our offence slowed down in the second quarter. We weren’t getting proper passes in, we weren’t cutting and just not getting open.”

As the game started to open up, Pethick continued to put his bench players in, as he wants everyone to get crucial minutes heading into the final against Peacock next week.

“When those guys are out there, they have to clean up,” said Pethick of his bench players. “When they get into games this weekend and next week, they can’t make those mental mistakes.”

The Vikings are the 11th seed at regionals this weekend, but their regular season is now done with the loss and the team will see a staggering six players graduate.

“We only have a few players coming back. Next year will be more of a development year,” stated Tardif. “There will be a lot of growing pains, but with growing pains comes experience.”

For the Cyclones, the focus is playing strong at regionals this weekend and then facing Peacock in the final game next Tuesday (8 p.m., SIAST).

“Our games with Peacock have gotten better from our standpoint,” said Pethick. “They are still a great team and we have to play our best from start to finish. I think we can compete with them.”

The biggest hurdle for the Cyclones will be playing with confidence, but also enjoying the experience and not allowing themselves to be outplayed by Peacock.

“We just need to make sure that everyone is doing their best job and having fun,” said Pethick. “We play better when our guys are having fun and more loose. That is going to be the goal as when we get tight, the guys are more tentative.”

Austin Warren had a game high 29 points in the loss and Dax Whitehead had 27 points for Central.

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