It was a winning weekend for Horton High School’s Division 1 basketball team.
Now the team is looking to build on a streak that, they hope, continues as they host provincial championships Feb. 28 to Mar. 2.
Head coach Mark Clarke said his players couldn’t keep themselves from scoring point after point Feb. 16 and 17, winning 105-50 in the qualifier against Avon View High School and 124-78 against Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School in the final.
The wins got them the title of Western Region Division 1 Boys’ Champions and gave them a renewed sense of excitement for their upcoming games.
“It was the focus, the increase in our defensive pressure that led to a lot of points. We scored 71 points by halftime – a huge number – which was a great feat for us,” said Clarke.
“The boys were so excited by it all. It was probably one of their best games all year.”
The team was boosted by the return of point guard Isaac Clarke, who scored a high of 29 points in one game. He’d been out with a torn ACL, an injury he sustained almost exactly one year ago at the 2018 provincial championships.
The coach and father of the returning player said this was a “huge boost” for the team that had struggled during some games without him this season.
“Team playing is our motto, but having Isaac back gave us that extra boost of energy we needed to steal this tournament. He keeps his teammates energized too, and it definitely showed,” said the coach.
Mark Clarke also credited the standout performance of Grade 10 player Asa Hood and the team’s Grade 9 players, who he said all stepped up and contributed alongside veteran players. Most players walked away from each game counting more than 10 points apiece.
With championships on the horizon and steep competition from top-ranking Halifax Grammar School and Dartmouth High School teams, Clarke says the Griffins will continue ensuring their defensive pressure remains on point.
“We’ll keep working on increasing that defensive pressure, because that’s what allowed us to score so well in these games. We’ll definitely need it against the Halifax teams, but I feel confident we’ll keep our level of compete up and play hard,” said Clarke.
“That’s what it’s about. Even if we don’t win, we’ll know we did our job so long as that level of compete stays up.”