The Peacock Toilers senior boys basketball team might have come across a winning strategy for pretty much any team out there -- pour in a historic number of points in the first quarter, play consistently and solidly the rest of the way, and take home your win.
And in this case, that win was a Moose Jaw High School Athletic Association city championship.
Facing the Central Cyclones in the title game on Tuesday night in front of close to 1,000 fans at the Sask Polytech gymnasium, the Toilers rained down 35 points in the first quarter -- yes, the first quarter -- and never looked back on their way to a 102-72 victory.
For an idea of just how incredible the Peacock offence was in the opening 10 minutes, they were actually on pace to put up 170-plus points for the game with around two minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
When things are going that well, it’s a good night indeed.
“That’s huge for a team, to come out ready to go and just firing on all cylinders, you can really put a team away in the first half by putting it up on them and it’s hard to come back from that,” said Toilers senior Mac Simpson, who had 17 points on the night. “I thought it was going to be a tough game throughout, super close, but we were ready to play right from the start and that’s really what did it.”
Thing is, Central had a pretty solid start offensively themselves and only trailed 35-24 at the end of the quarter. Peacock only let up a bit when the teams returned to action, and would go into the dressing room with a 59-42 lead.
Things were largely balanced from that point on, and with the Cyclones unable to make any meaningful comeback without a Toilers answer, the end result was all but academic heading into the final 10 minutes.
“They made a lot of pushes and we always had an answer, but you expect that from them,” said Toilers head coach Troy Setter. “They’re probably going to be the 4A provincial champions again this year, so you know they’re going to keep coming and keep trying to get back into it.”
Needless to say, Setter was happy with what his charges put together on Tuesday night.
“The guys bought into our game plan and they played great basketball tonight,” he said. “When they play together as a team, they can accomplish great things, as they showed. It was a great game by all of them, our guards, our bigs, they all played well together and I’m proud of them and how they came together.”
And that start?
“We told our guys before the game just to go out and have fun, and whatever happens, happens,” Setter explained. “Take your shots when you have them, play off teammates and use each other, trust each other, and they did it. Then the ball was falling at the start and that made a big difference. We miss those shots in the first quarter, it’s a completely different game. Even then Central was still there, they were right in it and kept trying to battle back.”
Lance Geddes had 20 points to lead Peacock, while Nathan McDougall had a 17-point outing, Kai Houghton scored 12 and Makungu Mutabazi added 16 -- including two late-game dunks that drove the Peacock faithful into hysterics.
Mason Muchowski had a stellar outing for the Cyclones, leading all scorers with 23 points, while Earl Lamsen scored 18.
Now, it’s on to the provincial playoffs, with both teams hosting regionals this weekend.
The defending 4A boys champion Cyclones host a three-team event beginning Friday, while 10 teams will play in the 5A boys regional at Peacock, also beginning Friday night.
Be sure visit www.shsaa.com for up-to-date schedules.