By Greg Price
As the St. Mary’s Celtics boys basketball team gets closer to zones in March, head coach Ken Gabruck is still craving for his team to find its consistency after recording a 1-2 record at a tournament at Clearwater Academy in Calgary.
“We had our inconsistencies. We lost our first two games and won the last one, although one of our losses was in overtime,” said Gabruck. “We are struggling with inconsistent play both as individuals and as a team.”
The Celtics faced Drumheller in its opening round and dropped a 76-67 decision.
“They were a very quick team and they could fastbreak well and shoot the three with authority,” said Gabruck. “We were close at the start, and then they put a stretch on us with some easy fastbreak baskets on us, and then we were unable to come back.”
“The way Drumheller plays is the kind of game we would like to play. But they were able to fastbreak against us with relative ease, but we weren’t able to get any fastbreak points.”
The Celtics’ overtime loss was 68-65 to host Clearwater as the Celtics could not hold a 10-point lead, eventually being worn down by the larger opposition.
“This was one of our better games of the tournament. Our defence played very, very well. They were a much bigger team than us,” said Gabruck. “They wore us down at the end where they got some easy second-chance points off of rebounds. We had a chance to win it with 16 seconds left (in regulation), but we couldn’t hit the three,” said Gabruck.
The Celtics won its last game easily with a 72-40 victory over Masters Academy.
“We were able to put on some pressure defence and our fastbreak was considerably better with some easy baskets,” said Gabruck.
The Celtics’ previous weekend had a stronger showing at a tournament in Fort Macleod where the Celtics earned the silver medal by making it to the championship game.
The Celtics trounced Milk River in its opening game 92-40.
“Milk River is a struggling team trying to get its program going again. There’s not a lot of competition from them yet,” said Gabruck. “It was an opportunity for us for everyone to get into the game and try different defences. We did jump back and forth from man-to-man and zone.”
The Celtics qualified for the gold-medal game by beating Claresholm 76-43 in a contest that looked like it would be quite competitive early on.
“We trailed by four after the first quarter, but we came back to score 26 points in the second quarter,” said Gabruck. “They were a much bigger team than us, but we had guys in Mason Muller, Donovan Passey and Herman Wiebe who did a really good job defensively against their big guys, rebounding quite well on both ends of the floor,” said Gabruck.
The defence continued for the Celtics in the championship game in a very low-scoring affair, in a 49-21 loss to Coaldale Christian.
“We just couldn’t handle their size. They had two really good big men that were 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6. We couldn’t get inside on them and they put pressure on our three-point shots, and it threw the kids off and they lost their focus and their targets were off,” said Gabruck. “That’s what they did all game, was try and take the three away and play zone. But, defensively we did pretty well against the bigger guys. Our tallest guy is 6-foot-1. It was a tough match, but to defensively hold them to under 50 points was really good. We just couldn’t beat their zone. We were limited to one shot in our possessions and that was it.”
Celtics go to Milk River today in River Ridge Basketball League play. Next week play stops for teacher’s convention before resuming again the Feb. 27 week where the Celtics will have four games in a row. The Celtics go to Picture Butte on Feb. 27 before hosting Milk River on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The team then finishes up on March 1-2 in Bow Island to clompete River Ridge Basketball League playoffs.
“We need to be more consistent with our effort and the mental part of the game where we have our lapses. Those really hurt us at times,” said Gabruck. “We get in spots where we are putting up shots too early or the opposite where we pass the ball around with a few seconds left and we have to force a shot. It is a learning thing for our Grade 10s and 11s. We are kind of struggling with our identity with figuring out what type of team we are.”