Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gophers dig out from a big hole

Garden City to face Oak Park in final

  • Print

The stage was big and, at times, the Garden City Gophers boys basketball squad looked like they had forgotten all their lines under the glare of the big lights.

But head coach Phil Penner knows his team. He knows when to get in their collective grille and holler and he knows when to back off and play the psychiatrist. Friday night in the semifinal of the MHSAA AAAA semifinal Penner did the Freud thing when his troops appeared to be unravelling. And the strategy worked en route to a gritty 77-70 victory over the St. Paul's Crusaders that sent the Gophers to Monday's championship game against the Oak Park Raiders.

The Raiders, ranked third, advanced with an 83-75 win over the second-seeded Sturgeon Heights Huskies in the late semifinal.

Garden City opened with a solid first quarter Friday night at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre, building a 25-16 advantage. But the Crusaders dominated the second with a 23-3 run and a 41-32 lead at halftime.

Cue Penner with the timely pep talk at the intermission.

"I've yelled and screamed sometimes if I don't think we're competing hard enough," said Penner. "But today I didn't yell and scream very much, I was just trying to get them focused on what they needed to do because I could see there were a few times in the game where the atmosphere was a little bit big.

"You've got to understand, my point guard is Grade 10 and the rest of my starters are Grade 11 and they haven't been here before. We're real young that way so even though we've been in a lot of big games it's not the Provincial Semifinals. I give our guys credit for fighting back from a nine-point deficit at halftime. The guys work real, real hard and sometimes hard work is better than brains. You saw that today. We just kinda gutted it out.

"We showed a lot of character. We were a little sketchy down the stretch with our decision making, but the guys showed a lot of heart."

Did they ever. And then some.

The Gophers dominated the third quarter, out-scoring the Crusaders 31-9 and then withstood a late St. Paul's run for the win. Garden City, which won back-to-back championships in 2008-09, will now chase their third title in four years.

"Our coach has a lot of experience," said Gophers' guard Jordan Kelly, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. "He's told us a lot of stories about past teams that won, so we know a lot of stories about past teams.

"What makes the team work? We're all friends off the court, so that helps us a lot on the court with chemistry. And we've just got a lot of shooters. A lot of people can shoot on our team and we're very young, so we just shoot the lights out sometimes."

Garden City was led by Chris Benevides who finished with 20 points while Andre Arruda-Welch had 16 and Mark Garcia had 13. Ross Book led St. Paul's with 19 and Theo Deezar had 16. Joey Nitychoruk, the Crusaders' big forward, got into foul trouble early and finished with 11.

In the second semifinal, the Raiders rallied from a 43-39 halftime deficit for the victory. Elliot Taylor led Oak Park with 26 points and 12 rebounds while Jordan Fotheringham finished with 16 -- including four three-pointers -- and John Kiesman added 15.

Garrick Hustal and Amarjit Basi led the Huskies with 18 points apiece.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2011 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. 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.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. 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 April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jaws of life used to free two people after two-car collision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google