It would have been supremely easy to do so, given their record-setting regular season and success on the tournament circuit all year, but this is the city final we’re talking about. A contest where great records can fall prey to the atmosphere and pressure that can fill Sask Polytech on the night of the big game.
But the Cyclones were having none of it.
A 21-12 lead over the Vanier Vikings in the first quarter set the tone, 46-26 lead at the half the stage and it was all smooth sailing from there as Central would go on to claim their fourth-straight league title
“It’s pretty good, it’s not the end goal since we’re still chasing provincials, but it’s definitely a nice win,” said Cyclones Grade 12 guard Kyle Boughen, one of the anchors of Central’s vaunted perimeter game.
“I think it’s always important to come out hot, show them you’re ready. It kind of defeats them a bit if you come out hard, and then as the game goes on you don’t have to rush anything, you can play your game and keep it things in control.”
That’s what Central did and then some, but with a twist – instead of raining threes and shots from the outside, it was a steady diet of pounding the ball inside to senior post Jaxson Brownell that made the difference.
Brownell finished the game with 23 points to lead all scorers.
“I’m definitely happy with that, we saw a mismatch inside and we just kept going to it,” he said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, so we just kept going in when it was working. And it’s kind of tough to shoot in this gym compared to our own gym, so it was easier to get lay-ups instead of shooting threes.”
Even with the substantial deficit, the Vikings did their best to make a game of it in the third quarter and saw their share of success, much to the joy of their loud and raucous fans. While they were unable to make up ground, they tied the quarter 18-18, taking a measure of pride out of the result.
But in the end, it was Central’s night, just as it has been their season.
“It’s really nice,” Brownell said. “Three in a row is a big accomplishment for Central and all the guys. Now it’s regionals and provincials and hopefully this time we take it home.”
Fharis Ebet added 14 points for the Cyclones while Hardil Khubber scored 10.
Javan Panko paced Vanier with 14 points to go along with 10 from Nathan Meili.