Despite having strong showings at the third annual 12-team York City Classic basketball tournament this past weekend, the Yorkton Regional High School senior boys Raiders and Sacred Heart High School senior boys Saints came up short on the scoreboard.
The Raiders led the way between the two Yorkton teams, finishing behind first-place St. Mary Marauders and second-place Central Cyclones in third spot with a 3-1 record.
The Saints finished seventh, going 2-2 in their contests.
The Yorkton Regional kicked off their tourney on Friday with a bang, laying a 70-22 beat down on the Lumsden Devils.
Raiders head coach Jason Payne wasn't surprised by his club's dominant play.
"I thought we were going to beat Lumsden," he says. "They are a program that's rebuilding and I felt it was a game we could win."
Strong defensive play helped the Raiders squeeze out a 75-68 win over the Swift Current Colts in their second Friday game.
"It's good when you get guys to step up and play that defense-first style," adds Payne.
St. Mary showed up the Raiders in their first Saturday contest, running away with a commanding 92-52 win.
"St. Mary's really showed they are the class of the province," says Payne. "They won the final game in the tournament by 32, so that made me feel a little bit better about losing by 40."
The Raiders' final game against the Carlton Crusaders was as close as they come. After Yorkton Regional blew a 15-point lead, the game ended up going into overtime. But the first five minutes of extra time didn't solve the score; therefore, it went into double overtime. Led by the strong play of forward Ben Redl and guard Daniel Mandziuk, the Raiders took the match 77-71.
"We let off the gas," says Payne on letting go of a significant lead in the second half. "They hit some three pointers and that's been our problem all weekend. It's something we need to improve on."
Payne also noted he felt both squads were quite fatigued in the contest.
"I thought we had two tired basketball teams. It was sloppy at times and there were some mistakes that shouldn't have been made, but that's what happens when you play four games in two days."
Sacred Heart pulled off a huge win in their first game of the tourney on Friday, defeating the North Battleford Vikings 65-61.
"We were very strong on the rebounds," says Saints head coach Garrett Karcha. "We had a lot of second chances that we finished on. We also had a lot of good run outs and fast-break layups. It was a big win for us. I can't remember the last time we beat North Battleford."
The Saints couldn't carry their momentum over to their second match from their Vikings' win, falling 67-40 to the Carlton Crusaders.
"It was a tough loss," says Karcha. "We were actually only down by six points at half time (30-24). We just couldn't score in the third quarter. Coming out flat at the start of the second half ultimately cost us the game."
In their first contest on Saturday, the Saints battled back from an 18-point deficit, but came up short 60-56 to the McNaughton Marquis.
"I was very happy with how we didn't give up and worked to come back in the game," says Karcha. "I thought we could even finish the game, but some bad turnovers really hurt us."
Both the Marquis and Saints ran into foul trouble in the match.
"They had two guys foul out, but we also had our two starting guards foul out," adds Karcha. "So we had the same foul trouble as they did. But their frustration with their foul trouble helped us out a bit."
Sacred Heart ended their showing on a bright note, slamming the Carronport Cougars 80-51.
"They were without their starting point guard, but still, to win by over 30 points was a huge positive," says Karcha on the Cougars' victory.
The Yorkton high schools intertwined a great cause in the tournament by selling $15 pink t-shirts and charging a $5 admission to raise funds for breast cancer research.
"This is our second year doing Hoops for the Cure in our York City Classic," adds Karcha. "It's in honour of Calra Gabel, who was the mother of the Raiders' Jake Gabel. She passed away two years ago and this is in honour of her for breast cancer research in particular."
The Raiders hit the road to Prince Albert for a weekend tournament on February 8-9.
The Saints travel to Lumsden on Thursday, Feb. 7 to take on Shaunavon.