The Eagles weren’t at their best in either opening quarter on Friday, but dominant stretches in the latter stages of each contest has the home team sitting at 2-0 after day one of the Kicking Horse Classic.
Playing in front of their home fans for the first time this season, the Eagles got off to a jittery start against Mt. Baker (Cranbrook) as most of the Golden Secondary student body looked on.
The nerves didn’t last.
After a timeout a few minutes into the first quarter, the Eagles took flight and soon held a 12-1 lead. That advantage stretched to 24-1 by the end of the first quarter as Golden demonstrated complete hegemony over its southern rivals.
“I think the boys were a little nervous coming out in front of the school,” said Grade 12 Saje Gosal.
“(During the time out) we just came into the huddle and said: ‘you know we need to get going. This is the last chance we are going to get to do this as a team in front of the school.’ “
From there, the Eagles shifted into cruise control, holding a 53-14 halftime lead before posting a 101-41 final score in the tournament’s opening contest.
The competition was stiffer in the evening, as the Eagles went up against a tenacious squad from Salmon Arm.
The mood was tense throughout and it was the visitors who had the better of the play in the early going, holding a 25-22 lead after the first quarter and a slim 35-34 advantage at the game’s midway point.
The Eagles found their game immediately out of the halftime break.
“We couldn’t have guys hesitating out there, we had to have high energy. You saw what Meva (Dhami) did for us in the second half, it was a lot of energy. That’s exactly what we needed,” said head coach Kindy Gosal on the team’s second half prowess.
In addition to Dhami, the Eagles received outstanding performances from Saje and Neal Randhawa. Saje found his sharp shooting stroke in the second half as the Eagles began to pull away, while Randhawa was a force in the paint, routinely driving the basket, drawing fouls and keeping Salmon Arm on their heels.
The Eagles outscored their opponents by a 30-20 count in the third and put the game to bed with a nearly identical 29-20 fourth quarter. In the end, it was a 93-75 final for the hosts, who will look to match Friday’s wins with two more on Saturday against Sahali (Kamloops) and LV Rogers (Nelson).
The Sahali game is set to get underway at 10:30 a.m. while the Eagles’ tournament finale will go at 4:00 p.m..