Late in the second half, with less than six minutes left on the clock, Coyotes’ Tristan Allen stood in the Timberwolves’ end, the ball suspended over his head as he looked for an open teammate.
He waited a second too long.
Out of nowhere, Timberwolves’ Kurt Spenner charged by, swiping the ball from Allen’s grip and running it down court for a lay-up, moving his team within six at 24-18.
Unfortunately for the Takhini Elementary Timberwolves (0-2), Spenner’s basket was his team’s first of the half as the Selkirk Elementary Coyotes (1-2) picked up their first win of the Grade 7 season with a final score of 28-22 Monday at Selkirk Elementary.
“Our shooting kind of went cold in the second half,” said Timberwolves coach Ian Parker. “It’s a game of momentum. We stopped passing the ball to our big men. It’s sort of our strategy that Selkirk used very well in the second half.”
“I felt bad for them because Takhini missed a lot of shots in the second half,” said Coyotes coach Kevin Greenshields. “I’m glad we rebounded well because they missed some shots that had they gone in on the first shot, it would a much different score.”
Six minutes left in the first half, Coyotes’ Jake Njootli took a pass from Chris Riemer and sunk a jumper from the top of the key to go up 12-8. However, the Timberwolves worked back to a 14-14 tie before Spenner created a turnover and drained one from downtown to move up by two just before half.
“He’s an experienced athlete,” said Parker of Spenner. “He’s played a lot of organized sports and I think it shows. He plays soccer outside of school.
“As much as he drives me crazy for not staying on his man (while) on defence, he’s got the fitness level and fundamental athletic skills he gets from playing sports outside of school.”
Allen, with height to spare, continued to control the boards for the Coyotes in the second, twice pushing back his own rebounds for baskets and grabbing a bevy of defensive rebounds.
“He really played better defence tonight,” said Greenshields. “He got back where he’s supposed to be and he played really well getting open down low—he played low-post very well tonight.
“They all rebounded really well defensively. By doing that in Grade 7 basketball you really stop the offence.”
For Greenshields, regular season games are nothing more than advanced practices and sources for valuable game experience as he tunes his team up for Whitehorse’s Elementary Basketball Tournament taking place February 13-14 at various locations.
“With Grade 7 basketball, it’s really about building the tournament,” said Greenshields. “Every game they play they get more experience of how the game flows, how to spread out and not be so close together, not to follow the ball while on defence.
“It’s amazing in the tournament. From the first game to the last game, if they improve a little bit each time, by the last game it’s a pretty good game for Grade 7.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org