Axemen take opener

Jason Simmonds
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Against team from West Kelowna, B.C.

NEW WATERFORD, N.S. – The Three Oaks Axemen opened play in the 31st annual New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic with a victory over a team from West Kelowna, B.C., here Monday.

Mark Matheson, right, of the Three Oaks Axemen drives the lane past a defending Connor Oughtred of Mount Boucherie Secondary School from West Kelowna, B.C., during the first game of the 31st annual New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic on Monday. The Axemen won the game 71-53.

The Axemen, led by Alec Parise’s 20-point effort, defeated Mount Boucherie Secondary School 71-53.

Dylan Gallant added 14 points for the Axemen. Mark Matheson and Lucas Coughlin each chipped in with 12.

“We started out really well,” assessed Axemen head coach Faro Halupa in a phone interview on Tuesday morning.

“We came out really well in the first quarter, but we were a little bit sloppy.

“It’s a weird time to be playing – we don’t normally play games at 12 o’clock in the day, so that may have been a part of it.”

Top two teams

With the top two teams in each five-team division advancing to Friday night’s semifinals, Halupa said it was important to open on a winning note.

However, he was quick to point out there is lots of room for improvement.

“It wasn’t one of our better games by far,” continued Halupa.

“We turned the ball over way too much, we gave up lots of second chances and I think we had 19 offensive rebounds. Those are things we can fix.”

Assessment?

What was Halupa’s assessment of the British Columbia team?

“They were skilled,” he answered. “They tried a lot of different things defensively.

“The hard part about going to a tournament like this is you don’t know any of the teams. We have seen a couple of the teams, but there are a couple of teams we have no clue on. Monday was one of those teams. You don’t know what to expect and you have to start adjusting on the fly.”

Next game

The Axemen’s next game is against Sackville High School from Lower Sackville, N.S., on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

“They (Sackville High) play in a Halifax league,” explained Halupa.

“We watched them play Monday. They didn’t go away, and played a close game with Corner Brook (losing 68-59).

“Corner Brook is supposed to be one of the stronger teams here. I would expect them to come out and give us a good game.”

The Axemen then play  Glace Bay High School from Nova Scotia on Thursday at 3 p.m., and close out round-robin play against Corner Brook on Friday at 9 a.m.

The championship game is Saturday at 2 p.m.

jpsports@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Sackville High School, Glace Bay High School

Geographic location: Kelowna, Corner Brook, British Columbia Lower Sackville Nova Scotia

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