The NAIT Ooks women’s basketball team’s season is now over, as provincials have wrapped up, with the Ooks finishing sixth in the tournament.
The Ooks began their weekend by losing against rival opponent SAIT.
“It was a great game, we came out to a slow start,” said Ooks head coach Todd Warnick. “SAIT being in their own gym with their own fans, their own rims came out and shot the ball well early.”
The Ooks battled to close the gap in the second and third quarter before falling just short in a close 68-65 loss. Sydney Hurlburt was a star in this loss for the Ooks, shooting 6-8 and hitting five three-pointers for 18 points while collecting nine rebounds in a near double-double effort.
In their second game, the Ooks were fighting to stay in the consolation bracket. Once again starting slowly, the Ooks picked up their play as the game moved along and, backed by a strong third quarter in which they outscored Concordia by 13, the Ooks pulled through for the win to earn them the chance to play one more game together before the season was over.
“A lot of the fourth and fifth year kids did not want [that] to be there last game,” said Warnick.
The Ooks had a huge performance on the free-throw line, which was a key factor in the game, hitting 20-28 free throws compared to Concordia’s 9-9. The Ooks also protected the ball well, turning the ball over nine times less than Concordia.
Going into the consolation game, Warnick believes that the team was “physically and emotionally spent” as the early loss had taken a lot out of them.
“Olds’ interior presence with their post was just a little too much for us to handle and we were just never able to find a rhythm that entire game.”
In this game, the fifth years played the most minutes, led by a 30-minute outing by Katie Waring in her farewell game.
Other Ooks, including Malesha Petterson, Kika Greenlee and Megan Belcourt have now played their last games for the Ooks. Looking forward though, key player Leah Vandenboogaard will take on a large role as she is the only Ook going into her fifth year on the team. Freshmen players like Allie Hunder and Kaelyn Bryks were two of many strong standout players last weekend, according to Warnick. With multiple key players leaving the team after these final games, look for these players to be in strong competition to step into the newly available roles left behind.
– Connor Toffan