The John Paul II Collegiate junior boys basketball team has once again mined their way to gold, winning the Big Dawg Classic, a tournament held in Edmonton over the weekend, while remaining undefeated in the process.
JPII has yet to lose this season, holding now a perfect 15-0 record, with five gold medals through their first five tournaments. Crusaders’ head coach, Nate Jurgens said the weekend offered the chance to see the team stack up against some of the best teams in Alberta.
“For us it was a great opportunity to go and see some high-level competition because the tournament features schools from the Edmonton metro area,” he said. “It was really nice to see our boys get challenged and not back down from the challenge; they rose to the occasion and they played beautifully, which was really good to see.”
The lone Saskatchewan representatives at the Big Dawg Classic, JPII began the weekend with a matchup against the Millwoods Christian School Royals, winning their opening game 59-36.
Moving on to the semifinals, JPII shifted their focus to Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School, from Sherwood Park, Alta., for what would end up being the team’s closest game of the season, 44-41 the final.
Down seven points in the second-half, the Crusaders rallied back from adversity to clinch the victory.
“We had a bit of a scoring drought in the third, which is something the team hadn’t really faced yet this season,” Jurgens said. “They weathered the storm and worked as a unit [to come back] which was great to see.”
In the tournament finals, the Crusaders played the Vernon Barford Blues, defeating their opposition and leaping the final hurtle to gold, en route to a convincing 68-48 win.
“I was really proud of their composure,” Jurgens said, reflecting on his team’s triumph. “They understand basketball is a game of momentum, and sometimes momentum swings your way, sometimes it swings in favor of your opponent, but they stayed the course.
The Crusaders are back in action at Jonas Samson Gym in Meadow Lake Feb. 1 and 2.
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