Prairie Women Pilots secure PAC Gold with victory over Amaruks

PAC Prairie Women Gold 2018

It was a memorable weekend at Prairie College as the Pilots hosted the 2018 Prairie Athletics Conference Basketball Championships. The top seed Prairie Women and second seed Prairie Men welcomed Millar, Briercrest, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw to the Rick Down Athletic Centre for an exciting weekend of Basketball. The entire tournament was live-streamed for those fans not able to make the trek to Three Hills.

The Prairie Women, led by their Captain and League MVP Sierra Nelson, came into the weekend with only one loss. Their first game, on Friday night, was a 67-46 win over the Millar Edge to send them to the gold medal game versus the Saskatoon Amaruks.

It was the Pilots swift passing and team play that kept them in the game versus Saskatoon. The score was close for much of the game. Halfway through the fourth a scoring stalemate left neither team able to reach the hoop for several minutes. With 3:40 left to go in the game and a tied score of 43 each, Nicole Bublitz landed three after a pass from Nelson to give Prairie the edge. Amber Ruggles added three more to their lead and there was no turning back for the Pilots. With 1:46 left in the game and a score of 51-45 the Amaruks called a timeout to collect themselves, and scored three with 30 seconds left. While the crowd held its collective breath Prairie held on for a 53-48 gold medal win! Claire Richardson was named Player of the Game for her strong defensive guarding.

The Prairie Men swiftly beat the Millar Edge on Friday night with a score of 83-60. On Saturday, with the home crowd soaring after watching the women receive their trophy, the Prairie Men took to the court for the gold medal game against the top seeded Saskatoon Amaruk Men. It was a tough test for the Pilots as they took on the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Fischer, as well as the league’s MVP Katlin Larlham. The challenge would prove too much for the Pilots as they fell 61-78 to the Amaruks to finish second in the PAC league.

For both the men and the women’s teams Millar and Briercrest faced off for the Bronze medal, with Briercrest claiming the third spot for the men 52-45, and Millar for the women with a score of 64-75.

Prairie’s Bill Friesen, JD Cardinal, and Kerstin Deleeuw were honoured as PAC League All Stars for their strong play all season. With the exuberant home crowd behind them, both Pilots teams showed true sportsmanship and determination, leaving their fans proud of their effort in two entertaining gold medal games, and a first and second league placing.