Despite being without some of their top players, Yorkton Regional High School junior girls Raiders basketball team ended their season with a district title this past weekend at Sacred Heart High School.
“It has been an interesting season and a very successful season,” said Raiders head coach Chad McDowell. “We were missing three of our top players, so we couldn’t make those little mistakes that sometimes we could afford to make before. Our defense had to play good. Not in the first game, but essentially in our last two games they won the games for us.”
Yorkton Regional kicked off the tourney with a 28-20 victory over Melville on Friday.
Although a win is a win, McDowell noted his club’s offense didn’t have their best night.
“We won, but they blanked us in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We were up 28-11 going into the fourth. So our offense wasn’t always there.”
In their second match, the Raiders topped Langenburg 43-17.
“The girls did a great job on defence,” said McDowell. “I think two quarters we held them to zero points. That (strong defence) gave us time to find our offense. We got good outlets from our guards and our centre helped us get the win.”
Yorkton Regional wrapped up their district title with a 28-21 win over Esterhazy on Saturday.
Similar to their first contest against Melville, the Raiders didn’t have a strong fourth quarter.
“We are almost looking at the clock too much, waiting for it to expire,” added McDowell.
The Raiders head coach gave full credit to Esterhazy’s strong finish.
“At the beginning of the season we beat them (Esterhazy) by 41, and the amount of progression and growth they’ve had is just phenomenal,” he said. “They’re not the same team we saw at the beginning of the year. So hats go off to them.”
McDowell went on to give praise to his team, noting those moving on to senior next year are more than ready for the challenge.
“This is probably the most successful team I’ve had,” he said. “This is by far the most skilled team I’ve had. I’m looking forward to a lot of them going on to play senior next year, not because I don’t want to coach them anymore, but because they’re ready.”
Eight teams took part in the districts two-day tournament: Yorkton Regional, Sacred Heart, Langenburg, Canora, Melville, Preeceville, Kamsack, and Esterhazy.
Yorkton’s other team in the tournament, the Sacred Heart High School Saints, fell 49-14 to Esterhazy in their quarterfinal match.