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Peacock, Vanier post wins to open Helping Hoops Invitational

Toilers down Regina Johnson 86-40, Vikings edge Balgonie 66-56
The Peacock Toilers and Vanier Vikings might only be a couple of games into the new high school boys basketball season, but things are already looking pretty darn good.

Case in point, the first round of action from the second annual Helping Hoops Senior Boys Invitational Basketball Tournament on Friday night as the Toilers rolled to an 86-40 win over Regina Johnson and the Vikings picked up a 66-56 win over the Balgonie Greenall Griffins.

For Peacock, it was all about getting things going quickly, and that they did and then some, both on offence and defence. They held Regina to only five first-quarter points while building a 24-5 lead in the process. By halftime the edge was 43-20 and it was cruise control from there.

“We came out on fire, we played well at the start,” said Toilers head coach Troy Setter. “Our guys were moving quick and hitting some outside shots to set some stuff up. So it’s always nice when you come out on fire like that.”

They didn’t let up on ‘D’ in the second half, either, limiting Johnson to only two points through much of the third quarter and leading 70-24 at the break.

Peacock’s Devin Baumann continued his impressive start to the season with a 35-point outing to lead all scorers while Adam Blatchford picked up 10 points.

Aaron Creely led Regina with eight points.

The Vikings found themselves in a far closer contest against Balgonie but used a 27-point third quarter to pull away and take control of the game after finding themselves tied 14-14 after the first quarter and leading 25-23 at half.

The Griffins would close ground in the final frame and get to within six with three minutes to play, but Vanier wouldn’t break and held on for the 10-point win.

Rayann Cabral let the Vikings with 22 points, Nathan Meili added 21. Tyson Thurman topped all scorer for Balgonie 24 points.

Peacock now faces the winner of the Weyburn-Humboldt first round game, while Vanier will take on the winner of Swift Current and North Battleford John Paul II in their semifinal. Both semis are at 11:30 a.m., the gold medal game goes at 5 p.m. All games are at Peacock.

All for a good cause

The Helping Hoops tournament was played for the first time last year, with half the proceeds from the tournament going to the purchase of a new outdoor bench for Extendicare.

“Basically, I felt the guys should be doing more than playing basketball, so you know what, just look at who we can help out around the city,” explained Setter about the event’s genesis. “It worked out really well last year, they enjoyed it and were all fired up when we got the bench and took it to Extendicare.”

This year, Helping Hoops will go toward sponsoring a hole at the Wakamow Valley disc golf course, which opened this past summer.

“I’ve known people who have been at Wakamow for years and I know the vandalism that happens down there,” Setter said. “So with the new disc golf course down there, we thought ‘hey, let’s sponsor a hole and do what we can to help out’. So we’re hoping it goes just as well as it did last year.”