By Greg Price
The St. Mary’s Celtics have continued on in its fair share of success as of late, winning three out of its last four games, including a silver-medal finish at a tournament in Foremost over the weekend.
The championship game featured some push back from the Celtics before St. Mary’s eventually succumbed to Olds’ hot shooting in a 85-66 loss.
“They are a very strong team. They outsized us, particularly at the guard spot, with a two to three inch advantage on us with every player at the guard spot. Maybe we switched defences a little too late into the game where we ended up going to a box-and-one and we took their top shooter out of the game, but they still had enough top guns to maintain their lead throughout the game,” said Ken Gabruck, head coach of the St. Mary’s Celtics boys basketball team. “They had some talented shooters that were hot. I don’t know the numbers for sure, but they must of hit at least 15 threes. We hung with them where we had the lead 18 minutes into the game and then the last couple of minutes in the first half, we had three straight possessions that we turned the ball over and they came down and scored and we are down by eight at the half.”
Donovan Passey and Mason Muller both had 14 points in the game and Joey Giesbrecht chipped in 12.
The Celtics road to the championship final was filled with plenty of road kill which started off with a 93-31 win over Coaldale Christian.
“We led this one from start to finish and we got really good balanced scoring from both lines,” said Gabruck.
Passey had 18 points in the win and Cobe Cobarubas hit for 15 points. Muller and Herman Wiebe each had 12 points apiece. Colton Weinberger chipped in 11 points.
The semifinal was a match up against Lundbreck in a 74-54 victory for the Celtics.
“Our two lines were able to wear them down, they were not as deep as we were,” said Gabruck. “The ability to go 10, 11 deep has been a factor in our games. We were in control from start to finish, but we were only up four, six points at a time, but eventually their tired factor came into effect.”
Muller poured in 17 points and Cobarubas scored 15 points. Carl Rodrigo added nine points.
“Especially in the Friday, (earlier) Saturday game, we had a young kid in Grade 10, Tyrell Martens, who is really starting to be a factor when he comes into games on the floor,” said Gabruck. “He had two really good games. He’s a forward who is really good on the boards and he’s a good offensive rebounder, scoring on putbacks.”
Last Wednesday’s league tilt featured a 102-44 victory over Milk River as the Celtics were able to score its game high of the season.
“Once we got the fast break going, it was easy to pile up the score,” said Gabruck.
The Celtics have the week off from River Ridge Basketball League play before hosting its Double Blue Tournament on the weekend, with plenty of tough competition featured.
“We got some strong teams in the tournament like Stirling that we lost to earlier in the season. Kate Andrews out of Coaldale is coming and they have a strong team this year,” said Gabruck. “We are going to have to play well to win.”
Celtics first game is at 6 p.m. on Friday evening against Crowsnest Pass. If the Celtics make it to the championship game of its Double Blue tournament, it will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Celtics currently sit with an 11-3 record, but Gabruck has been telling his team to not sit on its laurels as it can learn more from the losses than some of the blowout wins the team has registered.
“Lots of the time when you are winning, you don’t realize your weaknesses or the areas you need to improve in. Winning easy can have bad habits creep in. Looking back on the season, when we lost to Stirling in overtime, the fact we had a huge lead going into the fourth quarter and we gave up a 21-point lead and lost in overtime. That is a good learning situation for us,” said Gabruck. “We have some work to do after that loss on Saturday night. We will learn from this and do some things differently to be a better team. Basically, what I think our biggest thing right now is we don’t have enough movement in our set offences.”