After dropping their first exhibition game of the year against West Vancouver on Nov. 26, the Elphinstone senior boys have since rebounded and quickly rattled off five straight wins, including a first place finish in Penticton at Princess Margaret Secondary’s home tournament.
Two days after the early 61-49 hiccup against West Van, the Cougars hosted Handsworth Secondary and beat the visiting Royals 68-63.
The next day (Nov. 29), Elphi travelled to Penticton where they took on Pleasant Valley Secondary in the opening round of Princess Margaret’s Mustang Mania tournament.
Seniors TJ Turenne and Nate Haglund each scored 15 points in a 70-29 butchery of the Sinners and Saints.
Connor Dempster was awarded player of the game.
In their second match of Friday evening, Elphi was pitted against Kelowna’s Immaculata Secondary Mustangs — the number-one ranked single-A team in the province.
The Cougars saw balanced scoring throughout their roster and cruised to a 74-42 victory. Haglund received player of the game honours in the double-digit rout.
Elphi then faced the host squad, Princess Margaret, in Saturday’s final.
After falling behind early in the first quarter, the Cougars rallied in the second frame and completely took over for the final 30 minutes, spoiling the hometown hopefuls and capturing first place with a 65-43 win.
Last Friday (Dec. 6) the Cougars followed up their dominating effort in the Okanagan with a 62-58 victory over Windsor Secondary at home.
“Team defence has been the biggest difference this year. The whole team is taking responsibility, and when you have that, it makes you hard to beat,” said assistant coach Denis Turenne.
“Our Grade 11 boys have bought into our system and that’s been big. With all the experience our seniors had on the floor last year, they are much more patient on offense and share the ball well. It’s great basketball to watch.”
December remains a busy month for the Cougars, as they played Mulgrave on Wednesday. Results were not available at press time.
The boys follow that up with two tournaments before Christmas — travelling to Abbotsford for the G.W. Graham Grizzlies Showcase on Dec. 12, and then on to W.J. Mouat the following weekend to battle the number-one ranked quad-A team in the province.
Elphi’s next home game is scheduled for Dec. 17 against Carson Graham, tipping off at 5 p.m.
The Cougars are currently ranked as an honourable mention in The Province newspaper’s preseason AA rankings.
In other action, the Elphi bantam boys dropped their first game 49-22 to Handsworth on Dec. 4. Their next home game is Dec. 18 against Rockridge set for a 4:45 p.m. tip-off.
The Elphi juvenile boys opened their season with a 49-48 exhibition win over Sutherland at home on Dec. 2. They also play again at home on Dec. 18 against Collingwood set for a 3 p.m. tip-off.
The Chatelech junior boys lost their opener 66-15 to Handsworth on Dec. 2. They have two home games coming up on Dec. 16 against Collingwood at 5:15 p.m. and Dec. 18 against Mulgrave at 5:15 p.m.
The Elphi senior girls won their first of the season, 48-46 at home on Dec. 3 against Sutherland. Elphi does not have a home game this month.
— With files from Ian Jacques