The Swift Current Comp. Ardens senior basketball team need two wins on their home court this weekend to claim a spot at Hoopla in Regina.
The Ardens have won five tournaments in Saskatchewan already this season.
“This year we are really fortunate to have a lot of height on our team and we’ve definitely taken advantage of that against the other teams,” said fourth-year Arden Mackenzie McIntyre. “Our posts are very athletic as well. We’re a very athletic team and we work hard together, so it’s nice that we have that and our defense to help run other teams out of the gym.”
“I think we have a really good connection because we’ve played together for so long that it just makes it so much easier and fun playing with each other,” added grade 12 guard Kateryna de Klerk. “Even when we’re having hard times we bring each other back and we come back. Even when we lose I think we did great as a team still and we came together as a team.”
The Ardens will now host the SHSAA 5A Rural Regional this weekend with nine other teams in attendance. They will enter the tournament with a 6-0 record on home court this season.
“Yeah it will be really nice, especially practicing in that gym every day. We know what it feels like to play in there. It will be extra nice that we are able to have fans this time, so hopefully we can use that home court advantage as a strength,” said McIntyre.
“I think the fans are really going to bring it up for us,” added de Klerk. “Just being able to be home and knowing that we’ve won on our court and we’re going to continue to try and win on our home court and keep that, I think that’s what motivates us to hopefully win Regionals and go to Hoopla.”
The tournament will feature teams from North Battelford, Warman, Yorkton, Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Greenall, Estevan, Weyburn, and Swift Current.
The Ardens will need a top-two finish to advance to 5A Hoopla in Regina the following weekend. While their previous results have helped them earn the top seed at Regionals, all those blowout wins don’t matter much as they need two wins to extend their season.
“We just have to keep doing what we know makes us successful and keep working hard. We can’t take any plays off or any days off. We just have to keep working and keep doing what we know we need to do to be successful,” said McIntyre.
The Ardens will face the winner of Weyburn and Lloydminster Comp. on Friday at 6:15 p.m. If they win, they would play on Saturday at 10 a.m. with a spot at Hoopla on the line. The gold medal game is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m.
“We’re really focusing on our defense. We have to have a strong defense over a strong offense and really protect our basket. We’re just really focused on coming together as a team and all working hard and putting in the effort and putting in the time to really succeed as a team and succeed as ourselves,” said de Klerk.