The Central Cyclones are going to have a chance to reach their ultimate goal this season after a commanding 88-62 win over the North Battleford John Paul II Crusaders in the Hoopla 4A boys semifinal at Walter Murray in Saskatoon on Friday.
Jaxson Brownell scored 20 points and Riley Seaborn added 15 as the Cyclones overcame a comparatively slow start to lead 34-17 after the first quarter and 58-28 at half.
Central did most of their damage in the second quarter as they created turnover after turnover to put together a 20-3 run through the first six minutes and build a 50-24 lead. That edge extended to 77-44 through three quarters and even with North Battleford finding their shooting game in the fourth, the Cyclones never allowed the Crusaders closer than 20 points.
“We’re really happy with how we played in the first half, we kind of took our foot off the gas in the second half and we talked about that as a team, we have to do a little better job of that,” said Cyclones head coach Ryan Boughen.
“But the first half, we moved the ball well, we shot the ball well and our second quarter we were able to lock them down and they struggled to find an answer. That was big for us, for sure... It’s a 30-point win at this time of year, so we’ll take it and move on and get after it tomorrow.”
The Cyclones’ opponent will be a familiar one – the very same Weyburn Eagles who knocked Central off in the last two Hoopla finals. At least, the same to an extent, as the experienced core of their team has graduated compared to the veteran-laden crew the Cyclones bring to the court.
“This will be the 12th championship game these kids have played in as Grade 11s and 12s, so it’s not new to them, that’s for sure, and even though it’s a different environment and really important game, our kids have some experience, which is invaluable,” Boughen said.
“But it’s still Hoopla and you have to go out and play it to win it, so we have to go through with it now… the guys are excited, they’re ready and it’ll be a good day for us.”
Game time is 3 p.m. at Centennial Collegiate in Saskatoon.
The Cyclones won’t be the only Moose Jaw high school basketball league team playing for a championship as the Briercrest Christian Academy Cougars lived up to their 3A girls number one seed with a 79-39 win over Melville.
Lilly Matthies scored 24 points to lead all scorers.
The Cougars now advance to the gold medal game against Lumsden after their 56-48 win over Unity. Game time is 7 p.m. at Evan Hardy Collegiate.
The Peacock Toilers didn’t have as much luck in their 4A girls semifinal as they dropped a 70-49 decision to the Melfort Comets. Scorers were unavailable as of press time. They'll take the court in the bronze medal game against Notre Dame at 1 p.m. at Centennial.