Grande Prairie, Alberta
Yukon’s two basketball teams ended the Arctic Winter Games in similar circumstances, but with different results.
Both were playing Team Alaska in bronze medal games, and while the junior males took bronze by the score of 82-56, the junior females ended up in fourth, losing 60-46 in Grande Prairie, Alberta on Saturday.
“They had a good team, but I think we just played up to our potential in that game and in that second half in particular and we’re just glad we were able to do that,” said Yukon junior male head coach Tim Brady. “Slow starts were our MO almost every game.”
Down 31-25 after the first half in the bronze game, Yukon’s Logan Boehmer had a big third quarter, hitting four three-pointers and sinking two free-throws, outscoring Alaska in the quarter all on his own. Boehmer ended the Games as the tournament’s top points earner, scoring 119 points.
Teammate Logan Gray, who scored 18 in the bronze game, was second with 112 points in the tournament.
“It was a team effort, we defended a lot better, we turned them over, we double teamed the ball every time it went into the post and we were able to take it away from them on a few occasions,” said Brady. “We built a lead in that third quarter that became difficult for Alaska to catch up on.
“It was a tale of two halfs.”
Slow starts were a problem in both junior male games against Alaska. But the opening game was worse. Alaska won 69-64 after taking a 15-1 lead in the first quarter.
Yukon fought back for a seven-point lead with three minutes to play in the game, but lost after a series of costly turnovers.
“We started out this final game in a similar way where we had fallen behind early and were down 10 or 12 points with two minutes left in the half and we made a little scoring run, which cut the deficit by six,” said Brady. “We played a much stronger second half and that was the kind of basketball we were hoping to play.”
Yukon’s junior female team had a different experience at the Arctic Games than most other teams, in basketball and other sports.
According to head coach Mark Hureau, his team’s performance actually declined over the week instead of getting stronger.
“We started the tournament as the highest scoring team, but finished the tournament as the lowest scoring team,” he said. “We just got cold.”
Going from a high percentage shot rate to a much lower one negatively affected other aspects of Yukon’s game towards the end of the Games.
“We started the tournament hitting every shot, so some of our girls were a little over-confident in the shooting and they just think it’s in and it isn’t in,” said Hureau. “We weren’t rebounding as well because we were used to seeing the ball go through the hoop.”
Highlighting the decline in Yukon’s play was their 72-50 victory over Alaska at the start of the week, scoring 41 points by half.
“That team got better and we were lucky to play them the first day,” said Hureau. “They got better every game.
“They started low and finished high. We started high and finished low.”
Yukon’s Krista Mooney, who ended the bronze game with 15 points, was her team’s high scorer of the Games with 72 points, putting her in a tie for fifth overall in the tournament. Four spots behind Mooney was teammate Devon Hanson with 56 points and Shannon Thompson ended in 13th with 44 points at the Games.
Contact Tom Patrick at