After five long years the Senior Boys Eckville Aces have achieved their goal of making it to the 1A Provincial Championships.
The Aces accomplished this by placing second in the Zone Championships over the weekend against New Norway.
“We started off playing Castor – they finished third in their league and are a pretty strong team,” Coach Cody Magneson said. “We came out hot and beat them pretty easily.”
The team followed that win up with a victory over St. Aquinas from Provost, who finished second in their league. This put them in position to take on their old rival Bawlf – who has repeatedly bested Eckville previously at zones.
“They have made provincials the last five years and are a very strong program,” Magneson said. “We came out very slow and they beat us 25-17 in the first set. The boys rebounded and killed them the next set 25-14. We came out slow in the crucial third set. They got a five-point lead but we battled back and made it 11-11. We had a questionable call go against us but the boys overcame that call and showed a lot of heart and determination. We ended up winning that game 16-14.”
That victory was a proverbial monkey off the Aces back and meant that they would finish first in their round-robin which set them up for an easier crossover against Spruce View – who the Aces bested for the league championships.
“The boys came out confident and we rolled over them,” Magneson said describing the game which clinches the Aces birth in the provincial championships this weekend November 25-26.
The Aces would go on to lose the final game against New Norway, however the loss provided insight into how the Aces will need to compete at Provincials. Magneson was pleased with his team finally being able to break through zone championships.
“We have had great teams for the last five years but have never figured out a way to get past the semi-finals,” he said. “The boys showed a lot of determination and a lot of heart. They showed a great deal of athletic knowledge and I am very proud of them for accomplishing what they did.”
Magneson is looking forward to lessons that Provincials will provide the Aces.
“We want to go out and get some experience because we are hosting provincials next year,” he said. “We are going to have four round-robin games and we have played three of them already. We feel we are in the mix.”
Magneson added he wanted to thank the school and the community for their support adding that Eckville Jr./Sr. High School is looking for coaches to help with basketball this season.