Sports

Mustangs improving as playoffs arrive

AJEET BRAR of the Princess Margaret Mustangs senior boys basketball team watches his shot head to the basket against the Summerland Rockets in South Zone playoff action. Brar scored the final two points for the Mustangs in a 75-50 win Wednesday night at Princess Margaret.  - Emanuel Sequeira/Western News
AJEET BRAR of the Princess Margaret Mustangs senior boys basketball team watches his shot head to the basket against the Summerland Rockets in South Zone playoff action. Brar scored the final two points for the Mustangs in a 75-50 win Wednesday night at Princess Margaret.
— image credit: Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

Princes Margaret Mustangs’ 75-50 win over the Summerland Rockets gave them a chance to win the South Zone championship Thursday.

Leading 55-35 after the third quarter Wednesday night, the Mustangs kept their lead with a 20-15 edge in the final quarter. Sanam Klar led the Mustang attack ringing up 19 points, while Jas Sahota netted 17.

Mustangs coach Raj Dhillon said it was a challenging game for his team against the Rockets.

“Summerland is a good, young team,” said Dhillon. “Today we just tried to get everybody in. We have to work on little things like zone offence.”

Dhillon liked that his group remained competitive, despite some mistakes and  some struggles with ball control in the fourth quarter.

Ajeet Brar, who netted the last bucket for the Mustangs, drew excitement from his teammates after dropping a jump shot.

“It was a great feeling,” he said of scoring the deuce. “The whole year I’ve just been hitting layups, the odd free throw. Just hitting that jumper from the end, my first one, it was beautiful. I really enjoyed it.”

Brar, who hadn’t played basketball since Grade 8, struggled at the start of the season with catching the ball and making layups. His hard work has gained the trust and respect of his teammates. Dhillon said Brar’s growth is an example of how far the team has come since they have five players who didn’t play much basketball before.

“Ajeet is the No.1 guy cheering every game,” said Dhillon. “He doesn’t play many minutes. He gets in there, grabs three or four rebounds, gives me two good fouls, gets a good jump shot in, and it gets everybody else going.”

Brar said the team played well on both sides of the court. The challenge in facing the Rockets is they work well for rebounds.

“They get a lot of second chance points,” said Brar.

The Mustangs played the Oliver Hornets for the championship (results not available at press time), while Summerland faced George Elliot. The Mustangs and Oliver will play in the Valleys next week.

Senior girls

Princess Margaret Mustangs' senior girls basketball won one of four games last weekend against strong competition in the 26th Street Tournament in Vancouver.

The Mustangs lone win came in their third game, 53-42 against the Southridge Storm of the Fraser Valley.  A strong second half helped the Mustangs win. Danielle Ruocco rang up 17 points to lead the Mustnags, while Megan Admussen-Blair recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 steals. Kenzie Haberstock (seven points, six rebounds) and Maddie Winter (five points, seven rebounds) were both solid. Mustangs coach Jeff Goodis said his team struggled to convert from the free-throw line, going five-for18.

The Mustangs opened with a loss to St.Thomas More Knights of Burnaby, 50-41. Admussen-Blair led a furious comeback netting 20 of her 23 points in the second half. That effort helped the Mustangs cut the deficit to six with just over two minutes to play. Taylor Corrie chipped in with nine points and her 10 rebounds were second only to Blair’s 13. The Mustangs committed 39 turnovers.

The Mustangs faced G.W. Graham Grizzlies, who received honorable mention among the top AA schools, losing 59-52. Ruocco led with 19 points, including 15 of the 19 points the team scored in the second half. Admussen-Blair recorded another double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Corrie added 11 points and seven rebounds.

In their fourth and final game, the Mustangs fell 70-61 to Rick Hansen Storm, ranked No. 8.

Ruocco and Blair drained, 20 and 11 points, respectively. Corrie scored 17 points and added 10 rebounds, while Winter chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.

Overall, Admussen-Blair recorded three double doubles and a triple double, Corrie had two double doubles and Ruocco was named to the tournament honourable mention all-star team.

Goodis said the tournament proved they can compete with the top teams.

The Mustangs were missing two starters that allowed some bench players to play more minutes and gain valuable experience.

The Mustangs are now preparing for the Valley Championship they host Feb. 20-22.

"We will be working on defence, specifically rebounding, shooting,  executing and taking care of the ball and mental toughness," he said.

Provincial berths will be on the line and the Mustangs hope to use last weekend’s tough games as motivation. The Mustangs also look forward to the return of grade 12 students Callan Cooper and Riley McKinlay from injury and illness.

 

 

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