Fourth place finish for U17 girls

Katie Brickman
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The under-17 girls provincial basketball team was 18 points away from a medal.

Libby Epoch from Peacock drives to the basket to score against Meadow Lake Carpenter in the SHSAA Hoopla 3A girls provincial basketball final in Saskatoon.

Team Saskatchewan lost 62-44 to Alberta in the bronze medal game at the Canada Basketball national championship in Edmonton on Wednesday.

Peacock’s Libby Epoch was co-captain of the team and scored four points in the loss.

“We were kind of flat. We had just watched the U15 (team) win right before and we were kind of overcome with emotion from their win,” said Epoch. “We weren’t really focused on our game and Alberta had all their home fans. I think we just ran out of gas in the last game.”

Team Saskatchewan had a great tournament, as did Epoch. They won both of their round robin games against New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

In the crossover match, they defeated British Columbia, but then lost to Manitoba in the semi-final.

That loss put them in the third place match against Alberta.

“I thought I had a very good tournament. I had a few strong games. I had top scorer in three games. I had good steals and assists too … I was pretty pleased,” said Epoch. “There was a lot of scouts there, so it was a good chance for people to see me. Hopefully, I can go further with basketball than high school.”

Last year, Team Saskatchewan and Epoch finished sixth overall and finishing in the top four was the goal.

However, once they got there and knew a medal was on the line and it got away from them, it left a bit of a sour taste.

“Even though we got fourth, which isn’t how we wanted to finish, that was the first time in a long time that we have even made top four,” said Epoch. “It was pretty bittersweet. We would have loved to get that medal, but in all, fourth is still really good for Saskatchewan.”

Epoch and her 11 other teammates trained all summer in Saskatoon and became close with the coaches, which helped them succeed at this level.

“The competition level was really high. Our first team games weren’t as competitive as our last three,” she said. “Most of the girls are at or above my skill level, so I had to work hard, but it was such a good experience … I loved it.”

Organizations: Canada Basketball

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Alberta, Edmonton New Brunswick Newfoundland British Columbia Manitoba Saskatoon

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