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Toilers tops at Bowlt Classic basketball tournament

Peacock wins girls Orange division at annual pre-season event
There’s nothing like winning a pre-season tournament to get your basketball season off to a solid start.

The Peacock Toilers did just that at the Bowlt Classic high school girls tournament this past weekend in Saskatoon, running through the Orange division undefeated and taking a 64-49 win over North Battleford Comprehensive in the final to claim gold.

“Going into it, we had no real expectations, we were just going to make the most of all the minutes we had on the floor and it turned into some really good success,” said Toilers coach Penny Maelde.

“We were playing just really basic basketball and focussing on defence. We set defensive goals every quarter and worked really hard to own the boards, working on rebounding and getting to the ball, and just making really good decisions defensively.”

That plan couldn’t have worked out better.

The Toilers opened with an 83-37 win over Saskatoon Tommy Douglas, with Abby Grund scoring 18 points. Game two was a 76-68 win over Saskatoon Aden Bowman behind a 24-point effort from Anna Maelde, and it would be fellow Grade 12 Caitlyn Johnson’s turn to lead the way offensively in their final round robin game, a 71-53 win over Regina Winston Knoll.

That sent Peacock into the gold medal final, where that defensive focus came to a head as they held the Vikings to less than 50 points.

Seeing the team have that kind of a weekend was especially impressive given the lack of preparation time – with many of the Toilers basketball players also members of the provincial bronze medal-winning volleyball team, practice has been limited.

“We didn’t have a lot of time together so we picked kind of the most important things,” said coach Maelde, who had only six practices with her charges before the Bowlt. “We had a list of things to knock off, we wanted to be prepared for a press and we wanted to really focus on defence. We basically just wanted to put things in place to give the girls the best chance for success.

“Everything we do is goal-driven by the kids. We had a goal this weekend to win every game, and they did that, so they’re feeling pretty proud and we are as coaches, too.”

The Toilers are right back on the court tomorrow, as Moose Jaw high school basketball league kicks off on Tuesday night with a full slate of games, including Peacock hosting Assiniboia at 7:30 p.m. and Central at Vanier at 8 p.m.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a very competitive league this year and that just makes as all better,” Maelde said “You’re going to have better ball players because you face the kind of competition we saw this weekend every time you play. So it’ll be fun to see those kinds of games all across the city.”