Ardens open provincial playoffs at home Friday

Steven Mah
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SCCHS Colts & Ardens

The Swift Current Comp. Ardens senior girls basketball team will host their third home tournament of the season this weekend when they begin the provincial playoffs.

The Ardens will host a seven-team 4A Girls Conference tournament beginning Friday. The top four teams will advance to Regionals the following weekend with an eye on Hoopla in Regina March 14-15.

The Ardens were in Saskatoon on February 11 for a pair of exhibition games. They opened the day with a 53-43 loss to the St. Joseph Guardians.

“We only lost by 10 points, which was a big improvement compared to last year,” explained grade 11 forward Cassandra Furey-Cameron. “It was a really good team improvement. Playing with a large crowd, the bleachers were full, it added what a Hoopla game might be with how much of a crowd there would be and the pressure, so that was a good experience for us being young.”

They bounced back later that day with a 55-40 win over the Centennial Chargers in their final action before the Conference tournament.

“Our first game we played very good defensively and we lost by 10 points to that team,” said rookie grade 10 guard Kirstie Klevgaard. “The second we won by quite a few points and played a good game.”

“I thought we played really well,” added grade 12 guard Shania Jensen. “The first game we lost but I thought we put in a good effort. The last game we were all tired but we still came out and won.”

The Ardens will enter the Conference tournament with an 18-6 record with two tournament titles and two silver medals in seven tournament appearances.

“Our goal is to work together as a team. We don’t want to give up if we are down by a lot of points. Even if it is a tough team we can’t underestimate ourselves,” said Klevgaard.

The Conference tournament includes seven teams with four advancing to Regionals the following weekend. The Ardens will face competition from Lumsden, Regina FW Johnson, Regina Luther, and three teams out of Moose Jaw.

Defense has been a point of emphasis for the Ardens recently.

“We have to play defense,” noted Klevgaard. “We have to talk on defense and work together as a team. If we work as individuals then we won’t score and we won’t go anywhere.”

“It will definitely be defense,” added Jensen. “Our team is really young so we still struggle on offense sometimes. But if we play good defense I am sure we will come out on top.”

The Ardens were recently ranked fifth in the Top 10 Rankings but their Conference tournament is loaded with top ranked Moose Jaw AE Peacock, fourth ranked Lumsden, and 10th ranked Moose Jaw Central.

“We have a really hard Conference this year,” noted Furey-Cameron, who fractured a bone in her arm and missed a month of action after being in a cast for three weeks. “But having the home court will help and being able to just compete and having a full 12-man team is going to help a lot too.”

“It is exciting,” added Jensen. “We have a pretty tough Conference but we are confident that we can make it to Regionals.”

Playing in four tournament finals has helped the Ardens prepare for this weekend said Jensen, a fourth-year member of the team and one of only three grade 12’s on the roster.

“I think just playing together as a team and the team dynamic. The team was so new at the beginning of the year and now we are starting to click and know where everyone is on the court and it is looking good.”

The Ardens will open the tournament on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Moose Jaw Vanier. The Ardens have not played Vanier yet this season but have attended a few of the same tournaments.

"They are a team that has improved tremendously since the start of the season so we are going to spend time preparing for them this week and the girls will need to play well on Friday in order to advance to regionals," said head coach Andrew Herrick.

If the Ardens win they would play the winner of Regina FW Johnson and Lumsden on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. The Conference final is slated for Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Organizations: Ardens Basketball, SCCHS, SHSAA Hoopla

Geographic location: Swift Current, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw

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