Whitehorse’s high school basketball enthusiasts know that senior boys Warrior Tony Nguyen is a force to be reckoned with.
Now Alaskans know it too.
Last week, the senior boys’ and girls’ teams from FH Collins and Porter Creek high schools traveled to Delta Junction, Alaska, to attend the third annual Dean Cummings Sr. Invitational basketball tournament.
The FH Collins Warriors boys’ squad came home with the best results, taking third with a 2-1 record.
Facing Alaska’s Craig High School in the bronze game, the Warriors fought back from a 12-point deficit at half to within seven in the final minute. With the final seconds in regulation time slipping away, Nguyen sunk a three-pointer at the horn to send the game into overtime.
“He must have been two feet off the three-point line,” said Warriors coach Jeff Cressman.
Starting overtime with three starters fouled out, the Warriors again were down by three with just seconds left when Nguyen – again – tied the game with a three-pointer, sending it to double-OT.
“There was a guy in his face that actually got a piece of the ball and it still went in off the glass,” said Cressman.
The Warriors took the game 69-66.
“It’s probably the most exciting game I’ve ever been involved in,” said Cressman. “It was crazy.”
The Porter Creek Rams girls team also had a good showing, finishing fourth out of eight teams with a 1-2 record.
The Rams picked up a win by defeating the hometown Delta Junction Huskies 42-27.
“That was our best game,” said Rams coach Mark Hureau. “It was against a team that thought they would do a bit better.
“We just led from start to finish. It was a pretty good game for us.”
In the game Krista Mooney led the Rams with 10 points, while Devon Hanson and Cat Lane each scored eight.
The Rams lost to Chevak High School 47-38 to end the tournament. Unfortunately, Mooney was absent from the game after spraining an ankle in the final seconds in their previous game against Juneau, which won the tournament.
“Some girl just came down and ran over her,” said Hureau. “She was excited because she doesn’t get to play very much and she just ran over Krysta with 15 seconds left.”
The Rams were not the only ones with a win over the home team Huskies. The Warriors girls’ team ended the tournament with a 41-23 win over the Huskies, giving them a 1-2 record and a seventh-place finish.
“We finally delivered a solid defensive game,” said Warriors coach Ann Jirousek, commenting on her team’s win in an e-mail to the News. “Positionally and technically we were more sound. The girls were more patient on defence as well as offence and sincerely looked for the right chances without leaving their teammates too vulnerable.”
Winless in their three games, the boys Rams team came in eighth place.
“We had a good game against Juneau,” said Rams coach Logan Wedge. “We ended up losing by 15, but it was real close right until the end. There were a couple foul shots when we started fouling but it was pretty tight up to the fourth quarter.”
The Rams did have some success in another area, winning a trivia contest.
“I can safely say that the Porter Creek boys killed in that competition,” said Wedge. “(They won) a lot of free T-shirts and a lot of free pops.
“We’re good at trivia – don’t mess with us there.”
With some outstanding performances, three Whitehorse players were named to the tournament’s All-Star team. With little surprise Warriors’ Nguyen was named to the boys’ team. Rams’ Jamie Milligan, who also finished fourth in a three-pointer contest, joined Nguyen on the list.
For the girls, Warriors’ Chantai Minet made the selection.
Besides returning with a winning record and a podium spot, the boys Warriors team has another bragging point. Although not the top on the court, the team is tops in the classroom, taking the Highest Grade Point Average Award with the Warriors carrying a 3.5 GPA to the tournament.
“They gave us a plaque and everything to hang up at the school,” said Cressman. “They’re good basketball players and nerds.”
The same four teams will be traveling to Tok, Alaska, for another tournament this week. They will be back in time for the Super Hoops semis and finals next Monday and Tuesday at FH Collins Secondary.
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