The team accomplished the feat with a 54-38 win over host Glenwood.
The game was quite close until the third quarter when Barnwell pulled away. “They were a very determined team. Their school had never won a banner before or even been in contention for one, so they weren’t going down easily,” said Chad Runquist, head coach of the Barnwell Trojans girls basketball team. “They played a box-and-one on Natalie Hoyt so she was having a more difficult time getting the ball and scoring.”
Fortunately, Jenna Nelson stepped up and had the first three baskets for the team, helping pace the Trojans on the way to her 12-point performance. Millay Johnson played calm and collected, notching a team-high 18 points. Hoyt broke free of the defense for only eight points in the final, but they were significant baskets in the third quarter when the Trojans really started to pull ahead.
“Josie Jensen played her best game all year. She got a ton of rebounds, played great defence and got eight points,” said Runquist. “She had to step up because Austen Robbins got into foul trouble. We put Kitawna Sparks on the Bishop girl, one of their best players, and she did a great job keeping her from dominating as she likes to do.”
In the end, Millay Johnson was named Player of the Game and MVP for the weekend, and Natalie Hoyt was a tournament all-star.
To start its tournament run, the Trojans nailed down the number-one seed, and therefore a first-round bye. The Trojans awaited St. Joe’s from Coaldale in the semi-finals and dominated from beginning to end.
Reagan Bailey stepped up nicely and was able to drive the middle and dish to the post players all game. All five Trojan starters hit for double digits and Barnwell cruised to an easy 80-31 victory.
Replacing key cogs in Johnson, Hoyt, and Nelson will be very difficult to do, but the Trojans return eight players with Tier I experience.
On the boys side of the hardcourt, the Trojans came up one game short of winning a zone banner.
“We played really well in the quarter-finals and semifinals, blowing away Crowsnest Pass and Immanuel Christian Lethbridge by 30 points each,” said head coach Aaron Edlund.
“We seemed to be peaking at just the right time. However, an extremely poor first quarter sealed the team’s fate in the final and there was no catching a great team like Magrath, spotting them an early lead.”