Cougars no match for Toilers in city final

Nathan Liewicki
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Peacock sets sight on provincial semifinal

Make it four straight city girls basketball championships for the Peacock Toilers.

Peacock Toilers guard Libby Epoch dribbles up the court as she is guarded by Karis Fawcett of the Caronport Cougars during Tuesday's Moose Jaw high school girls city championship. The Toilers won the game 89-61.

The Toilers never trailed en route to an 89-61 victory over the Caronport Cougars at SIAST Palliser on Tuesday evening.

“The third quarter was definitely our best quarter,” said Renee Verge, head coach of the Toilers. “We definitely tried to focus on defence and we got a lot of different looks in the third quarter and they were mostly the result of our defensive play.”

The favourites heading into the championship game, Peacock got out to an early lead over the Cougars, extending their lead quarter by quarter until the final buzzer sounded.

Grade 9 post Macaela Crone led the way for the Toilers with 28 points. Teammates Caitlyn Kitts and Grade 10 Libby Epoch scored 24 and 23 points respectively in what was the fourth straight city championship for Peacock in girls basketball.

“It feels really good,” said Verge. “We got the girls buying into the program that we’ve established at Peacock over the last few years.”

Although Zoe Tremblay was held scoreless on Tuesday, the senior was excited to end her final year with a city championship.

She spent the last two years in Medicine Hat before returning to Moose Jaw for her final year of high school.

“It is special to win it. I grew up here and I literally fell in love with (my team),” Tremblay said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play with any other group, especially to finish off my Grade 12 year.”

Tremblay is one of four seniors on the Toilers Verge said are vital parts of the team.

“Our senior players, especially those who have been with us for the last three years, are the bottom of the pyramid for us,” said Verge. “They’re the ones that know what we have to do to accomplish our goals and they’re leadership has been invaluable to us this year.”

The Cougars have three seniors on their team, but their veteran leadership couldn’t help them take down the powerful Toilers.

Head coach Leigh Wolverton said his team came out nervous playing in front of such a large crowd.

“We came out not shooting confidently. We were prepared to run, but there was a lot of anxiousness,” said Wolverton.

“Having lost three games to them already this season, the girls respect (Peacock) and we have a confidence that we can play with them, but they were still nervous. That affected our start.”

Lauren Janzen led the way for the Cougars with 20 points, who are off to the 3A Provincial high school girls basketball championship in Regina this weekend.

Wolverton believes his team has a legitimate chance to win gold if they shoot at the level they are prone to, which is something they didn’t do against the Toilers.

The Toilers are also off to provincials, but in the 4A tier.

After losing last year’s Hoopla final, Verge said there’s some unfinished business her team has to take care of.

“It’s a very hard championship to win. The more often I’m there, the more I realize how difficult it is to win the Hoopla gold,” she said. “Everything just has to line up right.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Geographic location: Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Regina

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