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Sugar Bowl finish sour for Cochrane Cobras

Basketball: Foothills clips Cochrane in fifth place final at Raymond tournament

The Sugar Bowl didn't end as sweetly for the Cobras as they hoped.

The Cochrane High senior boys team finished sixth at the Raymond Comets’ marquee Sugar Bowl basketball tournament, Dec. 27-28, after being trumped by the Foothills Falcons 73-70 for fifth place.

"We ended up at the bottom which wasn't what we wanted going down there," said Cobras head coach Patrick Court. "But at the same time, we got to play against a lot of teams that we would not normally see.

"All of our games, with the exception of the second one, really came down to the last shot."

In the seesaw final, the Falcons had a 34-26 lead at the half only to have the Cobras cut the deficit to one going into the final quarter. 

"It was a game of streaks," said Court. "In the first quarter, they went on like a 9-0 run until we finally started to get going. We missed a lot of shots in that quarter, we only had 10 or 11 points, which is not typical of our team. 

"Kudos to Okotoks, they played smothering defence and they had a lot of pressure on our guys, which our guys aren't used to."

The fifth-place match ended in somewhat chaotic fashion with a foul called on the Falcons with 0.5 seconds left and the Cobras down three.  

A lane violation on the Falcons added a free-throw opportunity for Cochrane who were then able to get the ball back on a technical foul on an inbound play.  

After receiving a well-aimed cross-court pass from Sam Smilski, Evan Sim quickly positioned himself for a three-point throw, narrowly missing the net as the buzzer rang.

In the end, Foothills held on to its three-point advantage.

Cardston went on to win the tournament, the LCI Rams took second place and Medicine Hat earned the bronze with a victory over Raymond in the bronze medal match. 

The tournament was the 54th annual Sugar Bowl, a hallmark of high school basketball in southern Alberta and a terrific experience for the players even with the crowds restricted to 50 per cent capacity. 

“I think I might be biased because I grew up down there," said Court. "This is probably one of the top three tournaments in all of Alberta every year, so the opportunity for kids to go is amazing.

“It's a lot faster paced, it's a lot more intense, where some of my athletes haven't experienced that speed of game before. The second thing is the crowd and the atmosphere that's created at that tournament is unlike any other."

In the Rocky View Sports Association league, the Cobras senior boys varsity team currently occupy second place in the ranks, behind the Chestermere Lakers.

The Cobras hit the court next Jan. 12 at home versus W.H. Croxford.

- with files from Remy Greer, Okotoks Western Wheel