Frontier Collegiate’s junior varsity Raiders made history last weekend, claiming provincial basketball gold in their home gym.
The Raiders, who entered as the third seeds and hosted the tournament, would not be the only northern team in the tourney - the Margaret Barbour Collegiate (MBCI) Spartans from The Pas would also be in the tournament, picking up the number one seed as zone 11 champions.
Frontier faced sixth-seed Virden in their first game, coming out on top by a 42-37 score. That set up a matchup with the College Regional Gabrielle-Roy from Ile-des-Chenes, who entered the weekend as the second seed. Despite being ranked higher, the visitors did not put up much resistance to the Raiders - Frontier ended up beating them 84-29 to earn a ticket to the finals.
On the other side of the bracket, the Spartans won their first game against Birtle 96-24, setting up a semifinal with the Souris Sabres, who had barely knocked off Carberry in their opening game. While the Spartans kept pace, Souris left the game with a 55-49 win.
The Raiders and Sabres would meet in the tournament final, with Frontier doing so on their home court and with a chance to make history. The team would end up doing exactly that, winning 75-55 to capture Frontier Collegiate’s first-ever provincial title in basketball and the school’s first provincial title in any team sport since 1993.
“It was a proud moment, being a teacher and coach at Frontier Collegiate,” said Raider coach Tyler Johnston.
“I have been teaching here for 11 years and coaching basketball every single year. The goal is always to win a provincial banner, but this is a difficult task as a coach, especially living in northern Manitoba.”
According to the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association (MHSAA) website, the last time Frontier won a provincial title in any sport was in 1993, when the school’s boys’ soccer team took home the provincial banner.
“We saw some high-level competition from all teams participating and a great showing of class and sportsmanship,” Johnston said.
Both senior teams from Creighton Community School took their respective conference titles last weekend.
Playing their weekend tournament in Langenburg, the girls’ Kodiaks would play several southern teams, starting March 11 with a morning game against the Esterhazy Warriors. Creighton would take a 57-41 win in that matchup, setting up an afternoon game against the Kamsack Comprehensive Insitute Spartans. Against another tough matchup, the Kodiaks would take down Kamsack 60-34, winning their conference and advancing to regional play next weekend.
The senior boys’ Kodiaks, playing their four-team tournament in Rosthern, started off with a 20-0 win over the Senator Allen Bird Memorial School Hawks from Montreal Lake - the team forfeited their game. That opportunity gave Creighton an afternoon game against Chief John Keenatch from Big River, which came down to the wire, but ended with a 74-71 Creighton win, making it a double conference win for the Kodiaks.
The girls’ Kodiaks team will enter the regionals as the eighth-seed in their class and will play the Assiniboia Composite High School Rockets in Lanigan March 17. The winner of that game will have a matchup the next day against either Rosthern or top-ranked Lanigan, who will host the game, at 1 p.m. local time March 18 - the winner of that game advances to the provincial HOOPLA tournament.
On the boys’ side, the Kodiaks will enter seeded 10th and will head to Regina Christian to play the Shaunavon High School Shadows March 17 at 8 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to face either hosts Regina Christian - seeded second in the province - or Oxbow at 1 p.m. March 18.