WITH 11 players in Grade 12 on their 14-player roster, the Kelvin Clippers varsity boys basketball team is hoping to make this season count for their veteran players.
The Clippers took a step in that direction Wednesday night, defeating the Sturgeon Heights Huskies 74-62 in the semifinal of the Salisbury House High School Boys Wesmen Classic at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.
Kelvin will now play in the tournament final Friday at 6 p.m. Their opponent will be the winner of the other semifinal game today at 4 p.m. between the John Taylor Pipers and the Garden City Fighting Gophers, the tournament's defending champion.
"For me, being a Grade 11 player and my first time in a Classic final, it's pretty exciting," said Kelvin guard Marco Valera, his team's second-leading scorer in Wednesday's game with 15 points. "We expect a lot of ourselves this year."
The player-of-the-game award went to Kelvin's Kristjan Lamont, who led all players with 21 points. Sturgeon was led by Jordan Herdman with 18 points.
Kelvin head coach Don Lamont said the veteran Clippers, including his son Kristjan, are the same group he coached two years ago when they won the provincial junior varsity basketball championship.
"A lot of our guys are in Grade 12 so this is special for them to be in the final," said Lamont, whose team has a 9-1 record so far this season. "We've got a very deep and veteran team and we're very well-balanced. We've got great guards and lots of big guys that can score inside."
Kelvin's big men showed timely outside shooting ability as well as Kristjan Lamont drained a key three-point bucket in the third quarter during a nine-point Clippers run in just under two minutes that shut down Sturgeon's comeback attempt.
The Huskies had trailed by 10 at the half but had battled back to within five points early in the third quarter.