November 24, 2015


-2° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Special weather statement in effect


Last chance at hoop heaven: AAAA Provincial High-School Basketball Championship

Two of province's top players hope to end careers on high note

The courts are gleaming and the nets are ready to be swished, as Manitoba prepares for its very own mini March Madness.

Starting Thursday, the University of Manitoba Investor's Group Centre will play host to the 2013 AAAA Provincial High School Basketball Championship semifinals. Four of the top girls' and boys' teams in Manitoba will go head-to-head to determine who goes through to the final matches, which are slated for Monday evening.

The Garden City Fighting Gophers' Josh Magpantay and the Glenlawn Lions' Emily Potter each want to win in their last trip to the high-school show.


The Garden City Fighting Gophers' Josh Magpantay and the Glenlawn Lions' Emily Potter each want to win in their last trip to the high-school show. Purchase Photo Print

The girls' semifinals start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with the boys' matches scheduled for Friday evening.

For Glenlawn centre Emily Potter, the provincials are a chance for one last hurrah with a team that she calls the closest she's ever seen. Potter, who stands 6-5, will be heading to the University of Utah this fall on scholarship to play Division 1 NCAA basketball.

It's a rare honour -- Glenlawn coach Bryan Kornberger can remember only six other young women since 1980 to have accomplished that feat -- but no surprise. Potter is, after all, a force to be beat: not only was she a key part of last year's championship team, but this season she led the Lions in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

Still, even with that not-so-secret weapon and four returning players from that championship group in his line-up, Kornberger isn't letting his team take the semifinals lightly. The Lions will be taking on the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes on Thursday evening, and the teams split the two games they played during the season.

"It's anybody's game," Kornberger said, at a Tuesday press conference to launch the tournament. "We're excited about the opportunity of just getting to the final four, because a lot of teams never get here."

If they make it to the final two, they could be facing a tough rival. The Oak Park Raiders girls' team went to the finals the last three years, and is hungry for a fourth crack at the top spot. The Raiders, who went into the play-offs as the top seed, will face the fifth-ranked Sisler Spartans in their semi-final match on Thursday. The Raiders beat Sisler in all three match-ups this season.

On the boys' side, Garden City Fighting Gophers point guard Josh Magpantay is hoping to close out his career with a third trip to the final game. His team, the 2012 defending champions, came in second in his 2010 year.

The second-seeded Gophers will face the 11th-seeded Sturgeon Heights Huskies in the semifinal on Friday, but Magpantay isn't getting cocky about the big gap in placing. "For us, we don't really care about seeding," he said. "We're treating them like any other team. We just need to exert our offense."

Last year, Magpantay was named tournament MVP for his effort, and Gophers coach Phil Penner is looking to the 5-9 shooter to lead the team to a repeat. "The biggest thing is that the ball's in the hands of a guy who's been there, and has experience," Penner said.

"Every game's going to be fought hard."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 13, 2013 D4

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Scroll down to load more