Courtney Matienzo of the Neelin Spartans dives to the floor to play the ball after colliding with Linda Mangero in Friday’s game versus St. John’s Ravenscourt. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Neelin Spartans varsity girls’ basketball team jumped out to a quick start at the 2013 Neelin Invitation Tournament.
The Spartans defeated St. John’s Ravenscourt 78-46 in their opening game of the high school tournament, led by Kristine Ward’s 33 points.
"This is a strong group and we played well," Neelin head coach Don Thomson said.
The team’s timing on offence might have been a little off due to the fact the Spartans haven’t played many games recently, but Thomson was happy with their overall compete level and how they’ve handled the extended layoff.
"We have 12 girls that show up to practice every day and I haven’t had a practice where I can honestly say, ‘you know what, we’re not getting anything done today,’" Thomson said. "They show up with a positive attitude and give me all that they have and they are getting better, so we’ll just keep working at it."
In their second game, Ward scored 10 points as Neelin beat Swan Valley 65-26 to capture first in Pool A and punch their ticket to today’s semifinal against Regina’s Campbell Collegiate at noon in the Neelin gym.
Taylor Eisner replied with five points for Swan Valley.
In Pool B, Virden swept both their contests. First, Heidi Smith scored 28 to beat Elton 87-41, while Charley Maxwell responded with nine for the Sabres. Then, Smith dropped 34 points to move the Golden Bears past Weyburn 73-62.
Elton dropped their second game of the tournament to Weyburn 68-48. Courtney Fines had 16 points in a losing cause for Elton, while Dakota Kosio netted 18 for Weyburn.
In Pool C, Chelsea Tokaryk scored 11 points to pace the Crocus Plainsmen to a 47-21 win over Dauphin. Kelly Stashko had six for the Clippers.
Crocus would lose their second game to Hamiota, 38-32, as Kailin Robinson scored 12 for the Huskies, while Stephanie Hunter had eight for the Plainsmen.
Hamiota also beat Dauphin 70-30 earlier in the day on the strength of a 21-point game from Shayna Mathison to capture top spot in the group and advance to the semifinals.
Erica Cranston paced the Clippers scoring eight points in the loss.
In Pool D, the Vincent Massey Vikings defeated the Souris Sabres 56-44 in their first game on the strength of 12 points from Allison Cruise. In their second game, the Vikings lost to Campbell 76-26.
Souris lost to Campbell earlier in the day, 62-34.
In the varsity boys’ draw, Dylan Minshull scored 20 points as the Spartans beat Swan Valley 107-17.
Meanwhile, Vincent Massey defeated Minnedosa 82-50. Jeremy Lucio had 13 points for the Vikings, while Landon Mick replied with 17 for the Chancellors.
Jake Cullen had 34 points, but it wasn’t enough as Moosomin defeated Crocus Plains 74-65. Austin Jones scored 18 for Moosomin.
In other action, St. John’s Ravenscourt defeated Weyburn 70-59. Avery Cadogan led SJR with 30 points.
Neelin will now face SJR in the semifinals at 1:45 p.m. in the Neelin gym, while Vincent Massey faces Moosomin at the same time in their home gym.
The boys’ championship game goes at 5:15 p.m. in the Neelin gym, while the girls’ final will follow at 7 p.m.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 26, 2013