An uptempo offensive attack carried the Swift Current Comprehensive High School Senior Boys Basketball team to a gold medal showing at their home tournament and helped improve their season start to 9-0.
The Colts utilized all 12 players on their roster to push the offensive pace of their games, a tempo which teams with a shorter bench were unable to match as games went on.
However, in what turned out to be the championship deciding game, the Weyburn Eagles gave the Colts all they could handle in a 68-62 victory by the Colts. Swift Current had an 18-14 lead after the first quarter and maintained their four point lead by holding a 35-31 advantage at the half. Swift Current stretched their lead to 55-45 after three quarters, and despite Weyburn pulling to within 56-54 with a 9-1 run to start the fourth quarter, the Colts continued to trade baskets and never lost momentum enroute to their six point win.
"They were strong defensively and were a good rebounding team, so that made it tough on us," admitted Colts veteran Jordan Bloom after their tough test versus Weyburn.
Ian Hayes paced the Colts offence for a third straight game with 13 points, followed by an 11-point performance by Matthew Bissonnette, and seven-point showings from Jaylen Mayall and Duncan Knox. Weyburn's Rhett Williams led all scorers with 20 points.
While the Colts were able to connect for five three-point shots, most of their points came from a fast moving offense and full court defense the whole game.
"We work hard and we run the whole time. It's fun to play, uptempo and fast," Bloom said. "We're very happy with where we're at," he added, "but we need to keep improving our shooting, our rebounding, and just keep winning."
The Colts began Saturday's two-game test with a 98-56 win over the Lloydminster Holy Rosary Raiders. Swift Current came out flying offensively and enjoyed a 34-17 advantage after the first quarter. The Colts held Lloydminster to just six points in the second quarter and powered their way to a 65-23 lead at halftime.
Hayes led all scorers with a Colts weekend high 26 points, while Clayton Gerbrandt scored 20 including making five of Swift Current's three-point shots. Bissonnette chipped in with 11 points.
Swift Current ran their way to an 81-66 win over the Shaunavon Shadows in the Colts first game of 2013. The Colts trailed 17-15 after the first quarter but shook off the rust and pulled ahead by a 37-27 margin at halftime. Swift Current stretched their lead to 65-47 at the end of three quarters. Hayes scored a Colts leading 21 points, with Marshall Siemens scoring 13 and Benedict de Gala collecting 11. Shaunavon's Matthew Benesh was the Shadows go to player with 37 points, while Jesse Voll chipped in 16. The teams combined for 11 three-point shots, with the Colts connecting for eight from beyond the arc.
Colts Head Coach Adam Jackson admitted Swift Current took a while to get a feel for their uptempo offense.
"We had a fair bit of rust when we started out, the first game especially," he said. "I said to the guys afterwards we got better each game. But it was by no means perfect. We've still got a long way to go."
The Colts had also clashed with the Eagles in the final of Weyburn's home tournament as well, earning a 66-51 win to post a 6-0 record during games during the 2012 portion of their season schedule.
"They're a nice team, well coached, good athletes, they're tough on defense, they fly around on the court. They're a fun team to play," Jackson explained. "It was a positive effort across the board, and a nice result against a really good Weyburn team."
While Weyburn's tough man to man defense forced the Colts to do some different things offensively, that tough game was important in helping the Colts continue to make some adjustments at both ends of the floor.
"We're still learning what kinds of shots are good shots for us and when to take those shots, and when to maybe pass it up and look to do something else. It's a learning process and we're still working on that. I think we still need to work on our offensive spacing to help create some scoring opportunities for us. And our defense, our half court defense, we're still learning rotation."
The Colts next tournament action will occur following the January exam break, with Swift Current participating in the 12-team York City Classic in Yorkton.
Jackson hoped the Colts are able to pick up their performance to the same level when they return to competition.
"We're a team that scores across the board. We don't have one guy that we run a whole bunch of set plays for. So one of the things we have to get better at is figuring out who is in a good position to score for us, and who should get the ball."