Thursday night the Cochrane High varsity boys and girls punched their ticket; Friday their junior boys' team did the same with a comeback win.
Friday also saw the Bow Valley High junior girls team upset W. H. Croxford in a 53-51 squeaker and now face W. H. Croxford in the division final.
That makes four Cochrane high school basketball teams vying for divisional banners later today at Airdrie's Bert Church. At a minimum, all will medal.
The varsity Cobra teams are both playing Chestermere Lakers teams and the junior boys are playing the Bert Church Chargers.
The varsity girls took an earlier lead and finished with a strong fourth quarter to beat the W. H. Croxford Cavaliers, 54-37. In the second of a doubleheader, the varsity boys took out the Chargers, 78-56. The Chargers won the division last year in a 70-68 final over the Cobras.
The varsity girls Cobras fended off a third-quarter surge by the Cavaliers and finished strong, scoring 18 points to their three. The quarter before the Cavaliers scored 20 of their 37 points.
"The score got really close in the third quarter so I took two tactical time outs to regroup the kids," says Cobras head coach Randy Peron. "I thought they were a bit unnerved. We had a breath of good air and calmed down and we dominated them in the fourth quarter, where a team tends to win or lose."
Building momentum for the tough competition of March has been important for Peron. Last weekend they played in a ranked Wetaskiwin tournament and lost all of their games. They were short senior players and with minor injuries sustained were down to eight players in the final game.
He believes it was a valuable experience for the team.
"Take away all the losses it was good for us because we played every ranked team in the province," says Peron. "That's how you get better. It was the hardest tournament I've ever been in with Cochrane."
In the other semifinal, the Chestermere Lakers punched their ticket into the final in hopes of defending their title with a 55-45 win over the first-place Bow Valley Bobcats.
The Lakers have proven to be a thorn in the side of the Bobcats and were the only team to defeat them in divisional play.
"The last six minutes they ramped it up and we just lost our composure for that run," says Bobcats head coach Kris Nielson. "They made some free throws in that run they made a couple of three. There was a huge momentum shift and the time outs didn't seem to have an impact. It was just one of those things."
Nielson says the game was almost identical to their regular season game.
"It's really about matchups. That's a team we don't match up well against, given what our strengths are and their strengths are."
Not to be outdone, the junior boys staged a second-half comeback to win by four in their divisional semifinal against the Cavaliers. They were down by 17 at the half and went on to win 72-68.
The Cobras junior girls team lost in the semifinals to the Cavaliers, 41-32. They are playing for bronze today against the George McDougall Mustangs.