The Central Cyclones charged to the finish with a huge second half, while the Vanier Vikings had a misstep in the final seconds that cost them on the opening night of the 58th annual Moose Jaw Senior Boys Basketball Tournament.
Central turned a close game at halftime into a blowout with a 93-58 win over the North Battleford John Paul II Crusaders.
Cyclones senior Kyle Boughen, who led Central with 20 points in the win, said it took the team a bit to find their footing in their first game back after the holiday break, "We just kind of kept with it, we came out rattled in the first half after a long Christmas break and just had to get the flow back," he said.
The Crusaders pushed the Cyclones throughout the first quarter with Central holding a slim 23-21 lead. They opened that advantage up to 45-32 by half-time and then ran away with things in the third, outscoring North Battleford 29-11 in the quarter.
Central guard Riley Seaborn said the defence fed the offence for Central in the win.
"We started playing good defence and the offence came way easier, you get lots of fast breaks and easy buckets," said Seaborn, who finished with seven points in the win.
"The second half was much more how we want to play, the first half we didn't play much defence, let in a lot of easy buckets and in the second half, we played good defence."
Jaxson Brownell also added 11 points in the win.
The Vikings went back-and-forth with the Weyburn Eagles in their opening game of the ten-team tournament. A turnover in the defence end in the final seconds led to the winning basket for the Eagles in a 70-69 triumph.
Vanier senior Riley Follensbee said they're disappointed in the finish, but pleased with how they played.
"We came out a little slow, we were a little intimidated, but we showed up in the second half, hit some shots, just a couple of mental mistakes later in the game, but it's still early in the season, so we can fix that," said Follensbee, who finished with 14 points in the loss.
Weyburn led 18-14 after the first quarter, but Vanier cut that lead down to 34-31 at halftime. The Vikings fell behind by six heading into the fourth quarter, but they finally pulled ahead with just over a few minutes to go in the game.
With the shot clock turned off and Vanier holding the ball, Weyburn pressed, forced a turnover and Owen Hiltz scored the winning basket to secure the win.
"This game will really set the tone for the rest of the tournament," said Follensbee. "We just need to clean up the mental mistakes."
The tournament will continue on Friday and Saturday at Peacock Collegiate. The action picks back up with the Toilers facing the Melfort Comets and Saskatoon Walter Murray squaring off with the Yorkton Raiders at 1:30 p.m.
The final goes at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday.