The Herbert Laurels finished their season with a silver medal at Hoopla in Regina.
The Laurels left everything they had on the court in a 97-82 loss to the Regina Harvest City Reapers Saturday evening to place second among all SHSAA 1A Boys basketball teams this season.
The Laurels fought back from a 14-point halftime deficit to take a brief three-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Reapers, behind the incredible scoring of Bryson Ostepchuck and Atlee Simon, scored 33 points in the fourth quarter to seal their sixth consecutive 1A championship.
Layton Dueck and Stewart Meyer each scored 19 points for Herbert in the loss. Ostepchuk and Simon combined to score 61 points. Simon, a grade 10 guard, opened and closed the game with torrid scoring stretches on his way to a 36-point evening.
The silver medal win capped the careers of graduates Phil Braun, Dueck, Jonathan Miller, Brandon Fast, Meyer, and Darcy Geisbrecht.
“Oh yeah, for us thinking that we were not going to take anything this year, so it was pretty awesome,” said head coach Mark Forsyth. “But it is hard when it is that heart-breaking and that close with this many grade 12’s. We wanted it. We led by three in the fourth quarter and I thought we had her for sure. The momentum had swung. But that kid [Simon] is good.”
“Yeah we were pretty happy, but gold would have been nicer,” said Dueck, who help lead the comeback with some incredibly athletic baskets.
“A lot of us played the best that we have ever played,” added Dueck. “We can’t be ashamed of that game. We all did well. We lost to a really good team.”
“Yeah, we wanted to get first but we are okay with second. We made it to the final game,” added grade nine forward Kurt Robertson, who didn’t back down from the pressure of a wild Hoopla crowd in the slightest.
The game was a rematch of the 2008 championship game when the Reapers downed the Laurels 61-52 in Saskatoon.
The Laurels advanced to the gold medal game with an incredible second-half comeback in Friday’s quarterfinal.
The second seeded Laurels trailed the 11th seeded Craik Cougars 40-20 at halftime but out-scored Craik 46-22 in the second half for a 66-62 victory.
Grade 12 point guard Phil Braun and grade nine forward Kurt Robertson led the Laurels with 20 points each. Tyler Sanden paced the Cougars with 28 points.