Arctics basketball team tightens play in Vancouver

After a couple months of practices, the Yukon women's basketball team head coach Nicole Schroeder got to see her team in action over the weekend.

After a couple months of practices, the Yukon women’s basketball team head coach Nicole Schroeder got to see her team in action over the weekend.

The team that will compete for Yukon at the Arctic Winter Games this March got some game time at the Bob Carkner Memorial Basketball Classic in Richmond, B.C.

“We didn’t concentrate on the score,” said Schroeder. “We went in there wanting to work on our defence and our zone defence was amazing. The girls were talking to each other and moving to the proper spots.

“We did struggle in offence. We need to practise our set plays a little bit more so everyone feels confident handling the ball.

“The tournament really granted us the opportunity to take a hard look at our offence and for me to pinpoint what we’re doing great and what we need to work on for the Arctics.”

Team Yukon went winless at the senior high school tournament hosted by the Stevenston-London Secondary School.

With two Grade 8 players, a couple in Grade 9 and 10, one in Grade 11 and just three Grade 12s, Yukon was the youngest team there.

“We knew, going down there, that we were going to be considerably younger than our opponents and not as experienced as some of the lower mainland girls,” said Schroeder. “So we went in there having our own specific goals of what we wanted to achieve. And the girls played very, very well.

“We had two Grade 8s on our team and they were playing against Grade 12 girls, and they went out there and were scoring against them. It was awesome to see that we have some great young talent coming up. We also have a couple Grade 9 and 10 players and they were crashing the boards really hard and doing everything I asked them to do.”

Yukon opened with a 75-35 loss to Richmond’s Hugh Boyd School. Yukon’s Galena Roots had six points in the game while point guard Quynh Nguyen and Jayden Demchuk each had four.

The Yukon squad then had a much closer battle in a 50-33 loss to John Oliver School.

Jacy Sam put 10 points on the board while Roots had eight.

Yukon finished the tournament against Burnaby Central School, dropping the game 55-25 (unofficial).

“That was a good game for our Grade 8s,” said Schroeder. “Jetta Bilsky had eight points in that game and most of her passes came from the other Grade 8 player, Jayden Demchuk.

“It was nice to see they were helping each other out out there.”

Yukon finished the road trip with an exhibition game against the Stevenston-London Sharks. No official score was recorded.

“Quynh and Galena were really motivational and inspirational for our younger players,” said Schroeder. “They set a great example and were constantly supporting our younger girls and giving them some helpful hints and pointers.”

“Galena had a solid tournament. She led us in rebounds, directed younger layers on the floor.”

This year’s Arctics team has three returning players – Nguyen, Roots and Sam – from Yukon’s gold-winning team at the 2012 Games.

The 2014 Arctic Winter Games will take place March 15-22 in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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