The Mount Baker senior boys basketball team returned victorious from a tournament in Alberta last weekend.
The squad won three games in an eight-team tournament in Drumheller that gave them the championship as they begin to eye up B.C. provincials in a couple weeks.
Head coach Shaun Penner said the team had some tense moments in the final, as they were down by eight points to Heritage Christian Academy and lost their team leader, Andrew Lamb, after too many fouls, with six minutes to go.
“In the past, that would’ve been the dagger for us,” said Penner, “but I called a timeout right after and I looked them in the eye, and I said, ‘Guys, it’s the same deal over again. You got to work as a team. Even when he’s out there, you need to work as a team, but now you don’t have him. And if you want to win, you have to do it yourself.’
“And everybody stepped up. Every last one of them came to play and pulled through. We won by three (72-69)—it was such a good team victory.”
The Mount Baker Wild won their first game, which was important, as it put them automatically into the semi final, as eight teams pared down to four. The Wild won their next game, which gave them the championship berth.
It was a great tournament and a great feeling for the team, especially as a way to bounce back from a disappointing trip to Calgary two weekends ago, said Penner.
“We took a good week of practice into Drumheller and I just had a feeling—these guys are prepared to win,” Penner said. “I knew they were all going to be close; every game was close, but those guys really learned what being a team is all about.”
Penner and the boys are now turning their attention to the provincial tournament, which is hosted in Langley from March 12-16. The Baker Wild are the only AAA school in the area and automatically have the Kootenay zone spot.