While the rest of us were busy counting our loot courtesy of the Easter Bunny, the DT Electric Futures basketball program was busy doing its thing in Edmonton.
The Futures had two teams in the tournament – U13 and U14 boys teams – at the IHG Easter Classic Basketball Tournament in Edmonton and it would be the U13 team that would very nearly bring the title home as they ended up in the final of their division. They would ultimately fall to Dalluyon Basketball out of Edmonton by a score of 61-35 but it was a valiant effort, said coach Cole Marshall.
“I wouldn’t say they were the better team but they had a deeper bench to draw from,” he said. “That was the difference.”
The U13 boys came out of their round-robin unbeaten with three straight wins. First up was NexGen U13 out of Edmonton, a 56-25 win.
Impressive enough but Marshall said they were gifted with a bit of good fortune in that one.
“They were missing one of their better players,” he said. “If you take a look at all of their other games, the scores are a lot closer but he missed the game where we played them. We still controlled the flow and the tempo and took advantage of it.”
The CABC Kings of Red Deer, Alta., were up next for the Futures and if the first game was an example of how to take advantage of a situation, this game was an example of how not to close it out.
The boys won, 43-39, but Marshall said it should never have gotten that close.
“We were up 20 points on them at halftime,” he said. “The kids took their foot off of the gas pedal and almost coughed it up but it was a good way for them to learn that basketball is a two-half game.”
With their fate in the own hands and knowing a win would put them right through to the championship game, the boys managed to right the ship and beat CBA U13 Orange, 37-27, to book their place in the big game.
Marshall said it was actually a back-and-forth contest from the outset but an 8-0 run in the last couple of minutes got them over the finish line.
“It was a one-possession game until about the last 90 seconds or so,” he said. “We’re usually on the other end of those sorts of decisions but the boys knew what had to be done and put their foot on the gas pedal this time.”
The boys had reached the final but it would turn out to be a hill too big to climb, especially considering they had just seven players. It was a tired bunch that would take to the court but they were still right in by halftime, trailing by just three points.
Marshall said the game was still in doubt in the fourth quarter but Dalluyon was simply too much down the stretch.
“They just took off and we couldn’t keep up,” he said. “One of their players hit three straight bank-shot threes with about six minutes left and we had no answer.”
The U14 boys, meanwhile, ended up in fifth place overall after beating Amerey Basketball of Edmonton, 51-39. They ended up on the bottom half of the bracket after losing both of their round-robin games to Intensity Basketball Club of Edmonton and the Calgary Storm U13 Black.
Marshall said the game against Calgary featured a full-court zone defence, something the boys had never seen before.
“They just crushed us in the first half because of it,” he said. “We talked about how to beat it and all of the guys got their heads in the game and managed to beat it. That made me proud of them.”
They ended up making it a contest in the late going, dropping a 52-49 decision.
Marshall was also a bit bummed about the final as the two teams they lost to ended up playing for the big prize.
“I knew we handled those two teams well enough,” he said. “I think if we had another chance at them, we’d have a better game but that’s basketball.”