The Yorkdale Royals girls’ basketball team won their third consecutive YESSA city title on Wednesday, April ninth at the M.C. Knoll/St. Michael’s gymnasium with a dominant 32-7 victory over the St. Michael’s Stars, while the M.C. Knoll Knights made sure Yorkdale didn’t celebrate two titles, defeating the Royals boys’ team 43-41 in a hard fought final game.
Good night for Knights
It was a good night for the M.C. Knolls Knights, who edged out the Yorkdale Royals 43-41 to win the YESSA boys’ city title.
But their victory was not easy. After storming out of the gate on a 10-2 run to start the game the Knights found themselves at the mercy of a tenacious Royals team; A Royals team that outscored the Knights 21-9 throughout the rest of the first half to take a 23-19 lead into the locker room.
M.C. Knoll came out flat to start the second half. The Royals, meanwhile, did not as they quickly added to their lead in the second half scoring the first five points of the frame to give themselves a nearly double-digit lead at 28-19.
However the never say die Knights team chipped away at the lead and with 4:55 left in the game they retook the lead at 38-37; their first advantage since early on in the first half.
A quick M.C. Knoll bucket increased the Knights lead to three at 40-37, causing Yorkdale head coach Jason Boyda to call a timeout in hopes of rallying his troops.
The timeout appeared to have little effect however as the two teams simply traded baskets to make it a 43-39 game with under a minute to go.
The Royals made things interesting when, with 43 seconds remaining in the game, they scored a basket to cut the Knights lead to just two.
The Knights took the ball down the court but, with the shot clock against them, could not find a way to put away the pesky Royals meaning Yorkdale had one last chance to either tie, or win, the game.
Holding the ball for the final shot, the Royal offence went to work. The Knights defence allowed Yorkdale a good look at the basket with just two seconds remaining, however the Royals final shot could only clang off the rim, breaking the hearts of Royal Nation and sending the home court Knights into a championship frenzy via a 43-41 victory in the YESSA city championship game.
“We feel very blessed to have the championship in our hands here,” offered Knights head coach Mark Schendel following the conclusion of the city finals.
Schendel then did something that championship coaches rarely do: he thanked his opposing coach, Yorkdale’s Jason Boyda, for what he has done with his Royals program. “I’ve got to say congratulations to coach Boyda,” mentioned Schendel. “I’m going to give him a lot of credit for this because, three years ago when he went to Yorkdale, he set the bar very high for the rest of us when it comes to girls and boys elementary school basketball.
“This year we were fortunate enough to get up and over that bar he set and win.”
Schendel then turned the page and commended the effort his big game players put forth in the final game to ensure the Knights took home the city title. “You know, it’s an old cliché. When the lights go on and it’s a big game your big time players have to make big time plays,” mentioned Schendel, continuing, “Fortunately enough our big time players executed when we needed them to. They made some clutch shots, clutch stops on the back end and we were fortunate enough that we made one more basket than our opposition and won the game.”
Winning the YESSA girls’ basketball championship is nothing new to the young ladies who represent Royal Nation. In fact, many of the girls won their second city title while head coach Jason Boyda celebrated his third straight city championship to unofficially declare the Lady Royals a Yorkton elementary school basketball dynasty.
But while winning has become the norm for the Lady Royals over the years, Boyda stresses that his team doesn’t focus on the win/loss column, but instead they focus on how much they have improved since the last time they took the court. “We don’t talk about wins or losses. We talk about being better the next time we step on the court,” offered the orchestrator of three city titles. “With these girls, they bought in to our philosophy. They got better every single day and as you can see it carried on to this final game as they played fantastic defensive basketball as well as offensively as they were able to score some baskets.”
Another thing that Boyda believes benefits his girls is the fact that they don’t so much think of themselves as a team, but more as a family. “We don’t talk about the team,” said Boyda. “We talk about the Royal family and doing things the Royal way and being a part of Royal Nation.
“I noticed today a lot of former players in the crowd cheering for us and that was awesome. It proves it doesn’t end after just a season or when you go to high school, being part of the Royal family is for life.”
And, if you happen to be on the Yorkdale Royals girls’ basketball team, that life, more often than not, will contain one or two city championships.