The basketball season is officially over for the YRHS Raiders senior boys basketball team after they fell 65-40 to the Prince Albert Carlton Crusaders this past weekend in Regional play.
The loss to Carlton, the 13th Raiders defeat of the season, eliminated the Raiders from Hoopla contention and was not the outcome that head coach Jason Payne was looking for, however he did find a silver lining when looking back at 11 of the 13 losses on the year. “We lost 13 games in the season but 11 of those were to teams that finished in the top eight in the province,” offered Payne. “That’s more losses than we’d like, but at least we were losing to quality opponents.”
Payne also feels that his team learned some valuable lessons from their losses to the likes of P.A. Carlton, P.A. St. Mary and Weyburn, all of which are teams that are regarded as the best in the province. “I think it showed us what we have to work on and what we need to continue to work on for next year,” mentioned Payne. “All four of those teams that are at Hoopla next weekend feature kids who are three-point shooters on a level that we just haven’t had over the past few years.
“That’s certainly something that we can work on and I think you learn lots from the teams that are successful when you see what they are willing to do to win and what the price they are willing to pay and things like that.”
The loss to the Crusaders was not the final game of the season for the Raiders, however. Instead, they faced the Tisdale Tigers in consolation play in the hopes of ending their season with a victory.
The Raiders indeed finished their season on a winning note, handing Tisdale a 64-53 loss and sending three Raiders seniors, Tyrell Ulmer, David Balysky and Braden Oystrick into their post-high school basketball lives on a positive note.
“It was nice to get them a win in their last game,” said Payne
The Raiders head coach then went on to explain the personnel losses his team will suffer with the departure of his three seniors, saying, “I think all three of them were really valuable players in different ways. I think Braden Oystrick was kind of the guy that kept us loose and joked around lots, which is an important role. Tyrell Ulmer was kind of our emotional leader and did a great job playing defence and David Balysky had an important role as well. He played real solid defence and did lots of the little things that I think certainly helped the younger players and showed them how to get it done.
“It will be tough to replace them, but we’ve got some good players returning as well.”
Payne, as well as the returning players, will now have just under nine months to prepare for the 2014-15 season, where the goal, once again, will be to improve all the way to Hoopla.