Brooks Composite High senior boys basketball team will compete for a provincial basketball championship later this week.
The Buffalos earned the right to compete in provincial play at Cochrane by winning a zone championship at home this past weekend.
Brooks won games against Cochrane and the George McDougall Mustangs to advance.
The Buffalos opened zone play Wednesday evening with an 82-61 victory against Cochrane. Cochrane will be playing host to this year’s provincial tournament.
Provincial play begins Thursday but the Buffalos will likely get a bye and not play until Friday.
This contest was close for the first 20 minutes with the Buffalos holding a 34-29 lead at the half.
Cochrane tied the game early in the third quarter and took a three point lead but the Buffalos were not to be denied.
The Buffalos tied the game shortly after and secured their lead on a shot by Amir Aliye.
Deng Dak dashed any hopes of a victory with numerous three point shots. When he was not scoring from three point range, he took the ball inside to score. He scored the most points for the Buffalos during the third quarter with 12.
Aliye added 21 points in the game while Chan Lual finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Dylan Wandler had seven points and two rebounds, Milkesa Galmo five points and eight rebounds, Cobey Fiset-Hofer three points and four rebounds and Peyton MS Obeng two points and seven rebounds.
The Buffalos finished the game with 19 offensive and 32 defensive rebounds and five blocked shots.
Head coach Russ Tanners said the Buffalos had a few boys playing sick and so the first half wasn’t the team’s best.
“They seemed to play out of it in the second half and then there was no looking back.”
He said Cochrane is a good team though and because of this he wasn’t surprised it was close at the half.
“Many games this year seem to be that way to start out and then our speed wears teams down for the second half. It was fun to see the boys gain momentum and show off some of their individual skills Wednesday night while playing as a team.”
Play Friday night had the Buffalos cruising to a 93-56 victory over the Mustangs to win the 3A zone championship.
Grade 11 student Deng Dak led the offensive attack with 37 points. He connected on eight of 13 three point attempts and went 14 for 20 from the field.
The Buffalos never trailed in the contest. They led 24-18 at the end of the first quarter, 50-30 at the half and 79-41 after three quarters.
Amir Aliye also had a huge game for the Buffalos. He not only picked up 15 points but was a big defensive contributor with 23 rebounds.
It was Aliye’s final game in the BCHS gymnasium. He has been a starter for the past three years.
Tanner said he has never had a player in a game come down with 23 rebounds.
Milkesa Galmo had 11 points, Peyton MS-Obeng 10 points, Cobey Fiset-Hofer and Nagor Lual five points each, Jelata Dawe two points, Dylan Wandler and Chan Lual two points and five rebounds each and Ben Bigiremana two points and two rebounds.
The Buffalos finished the game with 15 offensive and 49 defensive rebounds and one block.
Tanner said he was pleased with the performance of the boys, noting they are playing to their potential.
“I just knew if we came out last night (Friday) and through this tournament and if they played their game, that it would be a good result.”
Tanner said he was pleasantly surprised with the level of intensity his team had, even players coming off from the bench. This allowed the Buffalos to pull ahead, even more than what they have done in the past.
“I was very pleased and really proud of every single one of the kids who stepped on the floor last night (Friday) and even in the game Wednesday against Cochrane.”
Tanner said if the boys keep playing the way they have, he likes their chances at provincials.