Even though Team Saskatchewan and Moose Jaw’s Jett Kowalchuk missed out on the medals in men’s basketball at the Canada Summer Games, they can still find consolation in how close they were to reaching that hallowed ground.
After winning their two round robin games 107-45 over Yukon and 76-73 over Alberta, Saskatchewan rolled to a 99-34 victory over Northwest Territories in their round-of-16 contest to reach the quarter-finals.
There, they dropped a 69-65 decision to B.C. before falling to Manitoba 91-85 in overtime in their placement game.
“We were hoping for more, especially since we were working toward it the last couple years, but that’s the way basketball goes sometimes,” Kowalchuk said from Winnipeg after the loss to Manitoba. “It was a tough loss, we were battling the whole game and it was back and forth, it was just their day… they played zone pretty much the whole game and we handled it not bad. Some shots weren’t falling like they were earlier. It came down to the wire and they were able to pull it out.”
Kowalchuk had his best game of the tournament with six points against Manitoba. Alexander Dewar led the way for Saskatchewan with 24 points while Austin Chase scored 18.
Even though Saskatchewan missed their ultimate goal, the whole experience was especially positive for Kowalchuk.
“I felt really honoured, especially being from a small city and having a chance to represent the province of Saskatchewan,” he said. “It’s a high level of basketball and you just have to adapt.”
Just having a chance to be a part of the Basketball Sask. program in the lead-up to the Games was something that Kowalchuk felt made him a better player in addition to the bonus of playing for his province.
“Two years ago I just made the developmental team and was on the 16-and-under last year, and the coaches are great,” he said. “They put so much time in with the players and try to make the most of our opportunity…. It didn’t go our way, but that’s the way it happens sometimes.”
In other Games action, both Ryan Botterill and Hunter Bosch were in action in track and field.
Botterill ran in the men’s 100 metres ‘A’ final and crossed the line in 10.80 seconds, good enough for fifth place as one of the youngest athletes in track and field at the Games. Ontario’s Karson Kowalchuk claimed gold in 10.377 seconds, two thousandths of a second ahead of B.C.’s Jerome Blake. Ontario’s Samuel Adams was third in 10.620.
Botterill is back on the track Friday in the 200 metres ‘B’ final.
Bosch also put together a solid performance in the 400 metres ‘A’ final, finishing in fifth place in 49.05. Alberta’s Austin Cole won gold in 47.25, Ontario’s Ramzi Abdulahi silver in 47.60 and Alexander Szuba bronze in 47.68.
Moose Jaw and area will be well represented when the second week of the Games kick off, as Joshua Kropf competes in men’s cycling; Cadence Johns and Elyssa Tacchi in swimming and Caronport Cougars standout Jessica Zacharias in women’s volleyball.