Raiders beat Rams for zone title
Gabe Capettini of the Lacombe Composite High School Rams fights through his Lindsay Thurber Raiders opponents during the CASAA 4A senior boys basketball finals on Friday night at the LCHS gym. The Rams fell to the Raiders 73-63, taking silver instead of gold. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Composite High School Rams relinquished their central zone champion crown to the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Raiders on Friday.
A year after a come-from-behind 54-50 win over the Raiders in Game 3, it was the Rams who fell 73-63 to their opponents on home court in the best-of-three Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association (CASAA) 4A senior boys final.
While the result came up short of what the Rams wanted, Head Coach Tim McLenahan said the Raiders deserved the win.
“We started off great. It was a good start, then we had our looks, but didn’t make our looks. They made their outside shots, and it didn’t help that Carter (McLenahan) got hurt and eliminated some of our perimeter presence so they could lock down a little bit more on us without the threat of an outside shot,” he said.
“It was a little disappointing, but quite frankly the more skilled team won and they played better tonight.”
The Rams fell to the Raiders in game 1 on Tuesday, where McLenahan said they had the opportunity to steal a win, but missed four free-throws in the final two minutes. Game 2 was a different story, earning a 74-67 win.
In game 3, the Rams jumped to a 16-4 lead, but by halftime, the Raiders had tied the game at 30. It was a back-and-forth affair for the first part of the third quarter, but frustration soon crept in on the Rams who struggled to make their shots count, and the Raiders pulled away.
“They were a little defeated. It’s tough when the shots aren’t going in – you look a little tired and adrenaline picks up for the other team because they’re closer to a win,” he said. “Both teams worked hard, but our team got flat and weren’t as dialed in and motivated as they saw things slipping away.”
At the end of the third, the Raiders lead 54-47, en route to their 73-63 victory which punched their ticket to the 4A provincials in Medicine Hat next weekend, and put the dagger in the Rams season.
The season saw the Rams finish second in the league, with a 22-9 overall record and 8-2 league record heading into Friday’s game.
Much of their success was due to a strong veteran presence, with 13 Grade 12 players on the team. With the Rams core graduating, the team will be in a development year next season.
The game, however, was not only the final one for graduates, but also for McLenahan, who says he won’t be returning as coach next year after coaching basketball for 25 years.
“They’re a special group of boys – some of them I’ve been coaching since they were in Grade 7,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet way to end, but all in all it was a very successful, year, career, and a lot of fun to do.”