St. Francis Falcons win league and zone championship

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

In the 22-year-existence of the Smoky River Junior High Basketball League there had never been a champion from Slave Lake. That fun fact comes courtesy of High Prairie South Peace News Editor Chris Clegg, who looks after the stats for the league.

So history has been made. The St. Francis Jr. Boys won the league championship at the season-ending tournament in High Prairie on Feb. 23. This followed an undefeated regular season. They beat perennial champ Prairie River 80 – 70 in the final.

Says assistant coach Natalie Dollevoet: “This particular group of boys are determined and hard-working athletes, who carried themselves with pride, dignity, and sportsmanship throughout the season.”

This past Saturday the Falcons hosted a zone tournament for 1J schools in the north central part of the province and won that two.

The league championship was probably the bigger accomplishment, but the zone final against the Pembina North Panthers was no cakewalk. Despite losing by 22 points in the round robin, the Panthers came to play and even led briefly in the third quarter. The final score was 52 – 44 for the Falcons.

Bringing home the hardware

In the 22-year existence of the Smoky River Junior High Basketball League a Slave Lake school has never won the championship. Until now. The St. Francis of Assisi Falcons not only beat Prairie River of High Prairie for the league title, they followed it up with the 1J Zone championship on their home court this past Saturday.
The league and zone champion St. Francis Falcons. Back row, left to right: Karl Flores, Bryn Libano, Jack Albrecht, Ezekiel Balbuena, Zeon Sanje, Jef Robinson (coach. Front row: Darren Tumbado, Jei Mira, Jasper Cabel, Aliyah Malaca, Jandz Sanje and Adam Shillaker.

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