BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Neelin Spartans Quinton Hunter finds an opening in the St.John’s Ravencourt defence during the Tri-Star (Tier 2) Division final of the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational basketball tournament at Neelin on Saturday. Ravenscourt beat Neelin 79-47.
In just their second tournament of the year, the Neelin Spartans varsity boys’ basketball team learned the level of play it needs to reach to compete for a provincial AAA high school title.
The Spartans fell 79-47 to the St. John’s Ravenscourt Eagles in Saturday night’s Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational Tri-Star (Tier 2) Division final at Neelin.
The Eagles, who cruised through the round robin and their semifinal, broke down Neelin’s defence and forced a lot of turnovers in the division final. The team was at its best in the second quarter when it outscored Neelin 22-6 and it never looked back.
Neelin head coach, Don Thomson, isn’t too worried about the result as the Spartans, who beat the Lloydminster Barons 72-50 in the semifinals after going 3-0 in the preliminary round, have been together for three weeks. Thomson admits his players were very inconsistent.
"If you’re going to play with a team like Ravenscourt that has so many experienced kids, you have to compete in every play," he said. "… Earlier in the day when we played Lloydminster I thought our compete level was around 70 per cent. In the final we tried to battle some but it was just inconsistent. We worked hard for a play and then took two off. It’s like running backwards on a treadmill, you’re not really going anywhere."
Brock Hiltner, a Grade 11 student, ran the point for the Spartans for most of the game and led them with 15 points, while Quinton Hunter added 11. Both were named to the Tri-Star Division all-star team.
Avery Cadogan, who was named the MVP, scored 29 points for St. John’s Ravenscourt, while Sandeep Brar added 22 and Manny Wood chipped in 18. Both Brar and Wood were also named to the all-star team, along with Blake Wallaker of the Hapnot Kopper Kings.
Brodie Gill led Neelin with 18 points in its semifinal.
Despite the loss, the Spartans feel they grew leaps and bounds during their five games at the BSSI and they have set a new goal for the year as well.
"I don’t feel intimidated by the loss at all," Hiltner said. "That’s just a bar we’re going to have to reach and we’re definitely going to get there I think."
In other Tri-Star Division games:
Hapnot 89 Lloydminster 67
Wallaker put up 28 points to lead the Kopper Kings to a third-place finish. Nathan Hutchinson had 16 for the Barons.
Massey-Bdn 71 Nel.Mac 64
Seth Friesen scored 22 points to help the Vikings finish fifth overall. Jesse Fisher replied with 18 for the Wolverines.
Crocus 77 RD Parker 71
Kyle Johnston posted 32 points for the Plainsmen in their seventh-place game, while Femi Dimeji had 26 for the Trojans.
Massey-Bdn 73 RDParker 51
In Massey’s semifinal, Luke Giesbrecht had 16 points for the Vikings. Chad Muswagon led the Trojans with 22.
Nelson Mac 79 Crocus 58
In the other semifinal, Steven Fawcett and Shea Godfrey both had 10 points for the Plainsmen, but it wasn’t enough. Fisher had 23 for the Wolverines.
Stonewall 87 Sanford 48
The Rams were paced by Eric Dupras, who put up 20 points in the ninth-place game. Josh Van Wallegham posted 30 for the Sabres.
Glenboro 39 Swan Valley 23
Matt Klassen’s 20 points guided the Panthers to an 11th place finish. Ben Hart had six for the Tigers.
Sanford 66 Glenboro 52
In Glenboro’s semifinal, Klassen posted 17 points. Kegan Hopper had 31 for the Sabres.
Killarney 67 Beaver Brae 37
Logan Beazley put up 18 points as the Raiders finished 13th. Russell Guinto had eight for the Broncos.
Goose Lake 54 Minnedosa 44
The Raiders got 25 points from Shane Allarie and 24 from Sawyer Chase to place 15th. Justin McKinnon had 10 for the Chancellors.
Killarney 54 Goose Lake 37
In the semifinals, Ethan Kramer’s 19 points led the Raiders, while Allarie had 22 for the Raiders.
Beaver Brae 58 Minnedosa 53
Guinto put up 23 for the Broncos, while McKinnon had 18 for the Chancellors in the other semifinal.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 16, 2013