The Sabres senior boys basketball team showed heart playing down to the wire in tournament play on Banff last weekend.
The Sabres claimed a second place finish at the Banff Community High School Bears Classic. They were joined by a strong contingent of family and parents to cheer them along.
The St. Anthony’s team went all the way to the Rockies to meet zone rivals Duchess their first game Friday night.
The Sabres jumped out strong in the first quarter and had Duchess on the ropes with a 12-point lead. The Sabres continued to lead, however Duchess crept closer in the fourth quarter, but never threatened. The Sabres won 63-56. Anthony Merkel led the way with 17 points, Matt Russell contributed 16.
In the semi final, the Sabres faced Banff International Hockey School, who filled in for W.P Wagner, a 4A school from Edmonton that dropped out. Every member of the Sabres saw court time in this match on Saturday morning, and all scored as they went on to win 101-39.
This put the Sabres in a competitive match with Canmore. It was a battle from start to end. Canmore led by as much as 12 points, but the Sabres battled back and in the remaining seconds, cut the lead to just one point.
The Sabres were unable to capitalize on two free throws, but were able to regain possession with just three second on the clock. Trevor Stahl’s quick jumper rattled out, but Brandon Gruber was in place and grabbed the rebound, but the clock ticked down to zero.
Canmore won 59-58. For the Sabres, Merkel has 20 points while Gruber had 14.
Coach Gavin Makse was impressed by the team’s tenacity down the stretch. This was the biggest come from behind effort the team has made this season, and says they should be commended for their effort. While they played with emotion needed to win, they did not get disheartened, and kept their composure, not being drawn into costly mistakes. The game highlighted the need for work on foul shooting. The Sabres were 16 for 29 from the line.
The team continues its route to zone playoffs tonight (Wednesday, March 3) as they travel to Trochu to play. On Friday, March 12 and 13 they are hosting the South Central Zones.