The Cochrane Cobras junior varsity basketball boys clawed back from a 19-point deficit to choke out their competition and take the zone championships last weekend.
“It was so high energy that, for the first time ever, I took no pictures during the game,” said parent Bob Higginson of Saturday’s final against Okotoks’ Foothills Composite Falcons. “I blew my own voice out.”
Bert Church High School in Airdrie hosted the 2017 Alberta Schools Athletic Association’s 3A-4A Zone Championships, and the Cobras JV boys headed into the series with a strong winning record after a dominating divisional victory against the WH Croxford Cavaliers.
The Cobras won their first two games on Friday night and Saturday morning, earning a spot in the gold medal match on Saturday night.
In that final game, Higginson said it took a while for Cochrane to gain traction and they battled from behind for the first three quarters.
“(The Falcons) are a big team and they actually really had momentum on us,” said Higginson, whose twin sons, Logan and Cole, play on the Cobras. “We were down 19 points going into the fourth quarter.”
The team chiseled away at the lead over the last 15 minutes, and with about 30 seconds left in the game managed to snag a rebound and score two points – putting them in winning position. The Cobras then just had to fight off the clock, and when the buzzer sounded the boys had risen to the top.
“It was unbelievable,” said the proud dad. “They were running on the floor, hugging. There were players crying. There were parents crying … (Coach) Jamie McLellan – I’ve never seen him jump and hit that level of excitement. It was just way cool.”
Higginson said zones are as far as the junior varsity team can go – so this is the pinnacle of their basketball journey. He credits coaches McLellan, Jeff Bosch and Mark Nzojibwami with building such a strong and successful group of teens.
“They’re mentors, they are surrogate parents, they are just an amazing group of men,” he said. “They look after these boys and they teach them fundamentals far beyond what happens on the court.”