The Cochrane Classic basketball tournament that took place Dec. 14 through until Dec. 16 showcased all three Cochrane High Schools, while also showing the potential of future Alberta hoop stars.
The tournament featured 32 teams from across Alberta, and was set up as an Oregon Draw meaning teams had to win all of their games in order to be tournament champions … if a team lost their first game of the tournament, they were automatically thrust into the consolation side – winning the first sent a team to the semi-finals and potentially the championship game.
The Junior Varsity girls finals pitted the Cochrane High Cobras and the Bow Valley Bobcats in a game between the cross-town rivals. Both teams won all of their games leading up to the finals, as Bow Valley took out both Central Memorial and Crescent Heights in their journey to the final game, while Cochrane High defeated West Central and W.H. Croxford in their first and second games of the tournament. The Cobras defeated Bow Valley in a very hard fought game that needed overtime to take home the gold medal.
The Cobras Senior girls team also made the finals after defeating Canmore 68-30 and Peace Wapiti 57-48 in their two prior games. The Cobras took on Wetaskiwin, where they fell 54-41 due to a slow start in the first half according to Cobras assistant coach Doug Jensen.
“We weren’t quite as consistent in the final as we were in the other two games (against Canmore and Peace Wapiti) and we had a very difficult first and second quarter,” Jensen said.
“We weren’t focused and ready to go right from tip off and it took us a long time to get into the swing of the game. They scored some very easy baskets against us in the first half, we had some defensive break downs and we had a hard time putting the ball in the hoop in the first half but at the half we regrouped, made some adjustments and actually won the second half by three points. Had we played that way throughout the game, we may have won the finals, but we’ll learn from the mistakes and continue to improve.”
Bow Valley senior varsity girls lost all three of their games to West Central, Strathcona Tweedsmuir and St. Timothy in the seventh place game. The St. Tim’s Thunder recovered from a tough start to their tournament by beating the Bobcats 43-40 in the two teams’ final game of the tournament.
In the Junior Varsity boys group, Bow Valley lost a close opening game to Wetaskiwin, and then fell to both Rundle College and West Central in the Consolation bracket. The Cobras finished third losing to the eventual tournament champions from Lethbridge College Institute (LCI) in the semi final game. Cochrane High defeated Westaskiwin 63-19 in the third place game.
The senior boys bracket was a tough one for both St. Timothy and Cochrane High, as both lost their first games of the tournament, putting them into the consolation side of the tournament. The Cobras bounced back by defeating the Thunder 92-36, before upending Rundle College 68-32 in the consolation final. St. Timothy lost their final game 53-46 in a hard fought battle with Sundre.
Jensen highlighted the fact that this year’s tournament was very competitive all across the board.
“This is the first year we’ve mainly focused on 3A schools because we’re hosting provincials this year. We had some very competitive divisions in all four groups. In fact, two of the four division finals went to overtime,” Jensen said.
“It just shows how competitive everyone was, and we didn’t have too many games where one team was quite a bit better than the other and as the tournament went on, you could see the teams were very evenly matched which led to some great games in the final two days of the tournament.”
Teams will now be taking a few weeks off for Christmas break, with the first games of the New Year scheduled for Jan. 9.