The Riverview/Cornerstone Royals weren’t able to win their first game of the season Thursday, but they did play their closest game of the year.
The Caronport Cougars prevailed 61-43 over the Royals in the Moose Jaw high school senior boys basketball quarter-finals.
“It was a great game. I thought our kids played well,” said Royals coach Cain Pinfold. “Caronport played very well. Hats off to them. They did a nice job. I’m proud of my team though, we struggled all year and we came out and gave them a good game.”
The Cougars will face the unbeaten Central Cyclones Tuesday in the league semifinal.
The Cougars jumped out to a quick 21-9 lead after the first quarter, but found the Royals to be a tough side to put away for the final 30 minutes.
“I thought our press was effective early and then they found a way to break it like they have in the past. We were a little more effective with it this time, but they passed the ball out of it,” said Cougars coach George Willatt. “We took it off eventually because it wasn’t yielding anything.
“The (Royals) played hard. They played well.”
The Royals cut the lead to 21-14 in the second quarter. They matched a couple of Cougars runs and trailed 33-26 at the half.
Caronport’s Zeph Moore had 17 points at the half, but also picked up his fourth foul with 3.2 seconds left in the second quarter. Moore had to sit the third quarter, but the Cougars were able to sustain their lead.
The Cougars stretched their lead to 16 points in the third quarter, but the Royals got back to within eight in the fourth quarter before a late 7-0 run by Caronport killed the game off.
“We had a really good second quarter, not a great third quarter and a pretty good fourth quarter,” said Pinfold. “The difference between Caronport and us is that we have a short bench. We have kids who run the whole game. It’s hard to keep pace with someone who can sub in and out.
“Other than that I’m proud with my kids. It was an excellent game”
Moore finished with 26 points and Jonny Toews added 16 for the Cougars.
Austin Howe scored 16 for the Royals, while Brennan Goski added 13, while he and Tyson Pinfold were a force in the paint blocking a number of shots.