Hapnot Collegiate’s gym walls will have two more banners on them. The school’s senior Kings and Kweens won their respective Zone 11 titles last weekend, scraping and clawing against tough competition.
Playing their tournament at Hapnot Nov. 17-18, the Kweens took advantage of the home court, advancing to provincials and adding the second of two zone title banners for the school Saturday.
Starting the weekend in four-team pool play, the Kweens were dominant early, taking all six sets they played against their opponents and holding their opponents to single-digit points five times. Norway House’s Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre (HBOIERC) Huskies were handed a 25-8, 25-8 L and an even more lopsided game came against the Nisichawayasihk Neyo Ohtinwak Collegiate (NNOC) Warriors from Nelson House - Hapnot won 25-4, 25-2. Only Cranberry Portage’s Frontier Raiders could come close to the Kweens in pool play, but even they lost 25-13, 25-6.
The high finish did not guarantee a bye for the Kweens, but the team would hand Oxford House’s 1972 Memorial Thunder a 25-8, 25-5 defeat to move into the semis. The Kweens’ toughest test yet came from Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN)’s Oscar Lathlin Wolverines, who had a significant cheering section from OCN and The Pas, as well as from teams the Kweens had already faced and beat. The Wolverines gave the Kweens a scare in the first set, but Hapnot rallied and took a 25-22, 25-17 win to move on to the finals.
Frontier Collegiate, on the other hand, caught fire in the playoff round, knocking out Cross Lake Mikisew with a 25-21, 25-22 win, then upsetting The Pas’ Margaret Barbour Collegiate (MBCI) Spartans 25-11, 17-25, 15-8 to reach the finals, where they would play Hapnot.
In a Highway 10 rivalry matchup with a banner on the line and a raucous Hapnot gym, the Kweens gained early momentum and continued pushing, winning 25-14, 25-12 and earning both the zone title and a provincial berth.
Not far away in Cranberry Portage, the Kings and Raiders’ senior boys teams faced off in their zone 11 tournament last weekend.
The path to the gold for the Kings was not nearly as straightforward. In their original three-team pool, the Kings picked up a 25-12, 25-11 win against Cross Lake Mikisew, but took a loss to the host Raiders, 22-25, 17-25. The Raiders and Kings both entered the playoff round, but while the Raiders would get a bye into the semifinals, the Kings would have to fight through a play-in game.
Facing Mikisew for the second time, the Kings won 25-14, 25-17, setting up a date with MBCI. Hapnot took a narrow 25-23 victory in the first set before cleaning up in set two, winning 25-12 and setting up a rematch in the final with Frontier. Frontier played Norway House HBOIERC in their semi and the Huskies took a set off of them, but Frontier triumphed 25-10, 20-25, 15-6 to reach the final.
Hapnot would have to flip the script to take the title - and they did exactly that, beating Frontier 25-14, 25-20 to clinch the victory and a spot at provincials later this month. Following their win, some of the Kings players came back to Hapnot to cheer on the Kweens as they won the school’s second banner of the day.
Three of Hapnot’s varsity volleyball teams - both senior varsity squads and the JV Kweens - will play at provincials this year. The JV Kweens will play their provincials on home court this weekend, starting Nov. 23 and running until Nov. 25. The senior Kweens will head to Lac du Bonnet to play from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, while the senior Kings will head for their tournament to College Regional Gabrielle-Roy in Ile-des-Chenes and St-Adolphe the same weekend.