Toilers turn the tables

Matthew Gourlie
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Peacock avenges city final loss, beats Central to advance to Hoopla final

REGINA — Taking the Central-Peacock rivalry out of Moose Jaw did nothing to dull its intensity.

In fact it may have amped it up a notch.

After being stunned by the Central Cyclones in the senior boys city final Tuesday, the Peacock Toilers got a measure of revenge Friday. The Toilers beat the Cyclones 72-50 in the 4A boys semifinal at Hoopla.

"We played better. We didn't do a very good job on Tuesday — coaches included. We didn't prepare well. We got what we deserved Tuesday, but we prepared well for this game," said Toilers coach Bryan Adams. "It was a better effort from everybody."

It took some time for either team to find its stride offensively in front of a raucous crowd in Regina.

The Cyclones only scored five points in the first quarter, but Cyclones head coach Leigh Pethick felt it was really the second quarter where things started to slip away.

"I was happy with the start of the game. Peacock got on a little roll and were up a handful of points and I was OK with that. We just couldn't crack into that in the second quarter at all," Pethick said. "We just got too far behind in that first half to make a comeback in the second."

The Toilers took a 39-18 lead into the half and the Cyclones were never able to get any closer than 14 points from the lead.

"We wanted to come out of the gate fast, work them hard and tire them early," said Peacock's Jacob Laxdal who led the team with 17 points. "I don't know what happened Tuesday night. We were out of sorts completely."

Neither team was going to back down and playing on a cozy court at Johnson, there wasn't much open space.

The teams combined for 56 fouls as every shot was contested. Five Toilers finished with four fouls and Nolan Thoroughgood fouled out. Central's Aiden Saladana also fouled out.

"The physicality of the game was a little more than I think our guys were ready for," said Pethick. "We're not afraid to mix it up, but they have better ball-handlers — as a whole — than we do. At times our guys didn't do the right thing with the basketball. They were maybe caught off guard."

The scrappy, physical nature of the game didn't bother the Toilers.

"We don't mind physicality. We'll bump with anybody if that's the way the game is going to go," said Adams.

"That's our game. We thrive on that physical contact," added Laxdal.

Saladana, a six-foot-seven post, hit three three-pointers in the second half to try to give his team a spark. He led the Cyclones with a dozen points.

Thoroughgood scored nine points for Peacock and Eric Forbes added 10. Thoroughgood and Levi Paul both contributed after missing most of February with injuries.

"I'm very pleased with the boys. It was a really nice team effort and everyone contributed. That's been a strength for us all year," said Adams. "We got some really quality minutes from the two guys that have been hurt for the last month. Both of them really contributed and that really helped."

The Toilers had cruised through their league season until the Cyclones stopped them dead in their tracks in the city final. Though Friday's game wasn't overly dramatic, Adams praised the Cyclones' talent and the standard of the local league in general.

"The quality of teams that we keep producing speaks volumes for our league," said Adams. "I don't know if a lot of people understand that. Even Vanier this year, their record in our league didn't show it, but they were a pretty darn good basketball team and they showed that when they got out of Moose Jaw."

In the other semifinal, Prince Albert St. Mary beat Weyburn 92-65. Peacock will meet the defending provincial champs from St. Mary Saturday (5 p.m., Regina F.W. Johnson).

Central will play Weyburn in the bronze medal game (1 p.m. Regina Winston Knoll).

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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