JV Cougars capture provincial title and third place

The JV Carman Cougars basketball team with their provincial banner. Left to right - Coach Jack Phillips, Nate Ens, Anthony Bueckert, Will McArthur, Caden Thiessen, Coach Larisa Ens. Front row left to right: Nic Carnelley, Evan Penner, Levi Phillips, Liam Larsen, Carter Barylski. Missing: Anthony Lehmann, Gavin McCallum, Coltyn Plaitin, Carson Park. (supplied photo)

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Carman Collegiate has another provincial championship as the junior varsity boys basketball team went undefeated at their event to capture the title while the JV girls team, a split of Elm Creek School and Carman Collegiate students, managed to bring home the bronze medal.

“The small gym decreased the court size by half which changes the game significantly as there isn’t space to spread the defense to attack the hoop,” said JV boys coach, Larisa Ens. “The fast break portion of the game was lost and the athletes had to adjust to playing with a floating centre line, but they did just that.”

The JV boys’ championship is now the third straight MHSAA Provincial Basketball Championship for the program. The three-peat is a first for the Carman Cougars basketball program. The semi-final is when things started to heat up for the Cougars as they traded the lead with the Raiders throughout the game. With a minute and fifteen seconds left the Cougars trailed by seven points, and after a pivotal time out, the team went to work climbing back and advancing to the championship.

“As a coach, I tried to impress on the team that the last minute in a basketball game is like an eternity as so much can happen in that time-frame,” added Ens. “Without wasting another second, the athletes turned it up and found a new gear with several steals converted into baskets at the other end to get us within one. The clincher for the team was a 3-point shot by Levi Phillips with 18 seconds left to put us up by 2 points.”

The Raiders could never recover and Carman advanced to the final with a 72-70 win. After the harrowing semi-final game, the Cougars came prepared for the final versus the number 2 seeded Niverville Panthers. The boys outscored the Panthers 61-34 in the final, dominating their way to the provincial championship.

Tournament all-stars included Will McArthur and Anthony Bueckert, while Nate Ens was awarded MVP.

The JV girls Cougar team made up of students from Carman Collegiate and Elm Creek School. (supplied photo)

The JV girls managed to bring home the third-place medal at their provincial championship held in Carman, at Carman Collegiate. The weekend was busy for the girls with a skills competition and several games over the course of the weekend.

Carman’s varsity boys are at their provincial championship this upcoming weekend.