By Joel van der Veen
KENASTON — It was a fight to the finish for the Kenaston Kodiaks, and this time they came out on top.
The senior girls basketball team won gold at Hoopla 1A provincials in Regina on March 25 with a 53-47 win over Middle Lake.
“It was hard-fought,” said Jenna Zdunich Fisher, who coached the Kenaston team with her father, Gene Zdunich.
“It was a battle, like it always is in that last game of the year,” she added. “They gave everything they got, and so did we.”
The Kodiaks were on their way to the provincial championship after hosting regional play the weekend of March 17, defeating both Cupar and Gladmar.
They played their provincial games at the University of Regina, opening the weekend against Lake Lenore on March 24.
“We had a slow start,” said Fisher. “It took us a while to get a basket.”
After faltering in the first quarter, the Kodiaks recovered and played three strong quarters.
Kenaston led 27-13 at half-time and ultimately won 62-42. Ann Ulmer was their leading scorer with 21 points.
For the final, they faced Middle Lake with the game scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.
“It’s always nice to have that last game of the day,” Fisher remarked. “We don’t have to rush off the court at the end.”
The Kodiaks had to work hard before they could savour the taste of victory again.
While the team played well in both directions, Fisher said the score was close throughout.
Kenaston led 28-26 at half-time and eventually won the game 53-47, with a lead of just six points.
Ann Ulmer was again the Kodiaks’ top scorer with 17 points. Rachael Matovich and Morgan Taylor also cracked double digits, each scoring 10 points.
This was the final game for Ulmer and two of her classmates, Alyssa Evashenko and Kylee Evans.
Fisher said the three players would be missed next year as they each made a strong contribution to the team’s success.
The win meant the oldest players got to bookend their careers with provincial wins.
The team last won gold in 2013 — when the oldest players were in Grade 8 — followed by back-to-back silver medals in ’14 and ’15, and bronze last year.
“We really had to fight for this one,” said Fisher. “Their character showed . . . It was awesome to end (the season) with a gold this year.”