Kweens come second at provincials, record tie for best finish in decades

Hapnot came just minutes after his first provincial basketball title in 63 years, but the elder Kweens still ended the year with one of the school’s best results in decades.

Hapnot came just minutes after his first provincial basketball title in 63 years, but the elder Kweens still ended the year with one of the school’s best results in decades.

The Kweens, who were 25-0 unbeaten all season before this year’s provincial tournament, finished third in the province going into the tournament in Souris last weekend.

Hapnot’s first matchup would be against the tournament hosts, the Souris Sabres, who went into the weekend as the seventh seed in the province. The Kweens took an early lead on the Sabers, with a three-pointer from Shanti Church giving Hapnot a 10-point lead late in the first half. At halftime, Hapnot led 32-19. The Kweens extended their lead in the second half, eventually coming away with a 67-46 win and progressing to the provincial semifinals.

In this semi-final, the Kweens would face – by seeding – their toughest test so far this season, the Prairie Mountain/Nellie McClung Co-op Predators. The team, representing players from Somerset and Manitou high schools, entered the Provincials as the runners-up team in Manitoba.

The Kweens were up to the task early, leading the Predators 29-19 at halftime, but the co-op team fought back to make it 42-34 in the game at 44 with less than two minutes left. The Predators took the lead just before the end and sunk a free throw to make it 45-44, but Katrina MacQuarrie hit a three-ball to restore the Hapnot lead moments later, followed by Kaitlyn Fieber who forced a turnover in the transition and later hit a mid-range Knight to make it a two-possession game.

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A series of clutch free throws would extend Hapnot’s lead and freeze the win as he went from a late 45-44 deficit to a 52-45 win.


Victory guaranteed the Kweens would bring back either a champion or a finalist banner. Which one they would take home would depend on their final enemy – the rose town Redhawks. The Redhawks, from south of Winnipeg, entered this year’s provincial championships as the top team in Manitoba and also had an unbeaten season in the finals, winning six tournaments. The Kweens and the Redhawks haven’t played each other this season – someone had to walk the ‘0’ with a coveted provincial banner on the line.

Hapnot took an early lead in the first quarter, but Rosenort kept the game tight – both teams tied after the first 16:16. The Kweens went into overdrive in the second round and their defense held up strong, forcing several key turnovers and climbing to a 34-24 lead by halftime.

The Kweens seemed poised to make school history, but Rosenort didn’t want to just disappear. The Redhawks went off on their own early in the third quarter, taking the game 38-37 hapnot at one point, but the Kweens went into the fourth quarter with a 46-40 lead.

Ten minutes away from glory, Hapnot would have to hold his own against Rosenort. Taking on a full field press to fight back and stuffing their key with players to clip passes and rebounds, the Redhawks found success by taking a 49-48 lead from the Kweens with 6:15 left.

The Kweens would never come near. Rosenort took over after the lead change, taking advantage of both late foul shots and forced turnovers to hand Hapnot their first loss of the season – Rosenort 67, Hapnot 60.

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Hapnot’s near-perfect season will go down in history as a 27-1 run, with each of those 27 wins back-to-back from the start of the season to beating Prairie Mountain-Nellie McClung.

Both Church and Gianna Watt were named to the tournament’s all-star team. The second place marks the end of the high school basketball careers of five Kweens – seniors Kara Burroughs, Chuch, Olivia Fernandes, MacQuarrie and Watt. The Kweens can bring back nine players, all 11th graders, for next season.

The provincial finalist spot is still a tie for the school’s highest placement at a provincial tournament in decades, not just in basketball but in any team sport. The senior basketball Kweens have not won a provincial title since 1960 and have not finished as provincial finalists since 2018, when the Kweens lost to the Warren Wildcats in the Finals.

According to the Manitoba High School Athletics Association (MHSAA), the school’s last provincial title in a team sport came in 1996, when Hapnot’s boys’ golf team won provincial gold.

The school’s sports schedule will now turn to badminton and athletics. Provincial badminton championships will be held May 4-6, while provincial championships in athletics will be held June 8-10, the last such event before the students graduate. Manitoba High School baseball also hosts provincials in June, but Hapnot hasn’t fielded a team in decades.

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