A round-robin loss can sometimes be a blessing in disguise – just ask the Canadian men’s hockey team, which only started to gel after losing their first game to the US.
After starting the Yukon Basketball Championships with a 78-70 loss to the Porter Creek Rams, the Vanier Crusaders bounced back for a 70-60 win over their cross-town rivals in the finals Thursday at Porter Creek
“We did a box-and-one defence, where we stuck a defender on Logan (Gray) and then we ran the zone, and they had a lot of trouble with it on Monday,” said Rams head coach Logan Wedge. “They had a lot of trouble
with it today too, until a couple of the kids started hitting shots.
“(Gavin Clarke) really kept them in the game in the first half because we had them on the run and no one else was really producing except for Clarke – the threes kept dropping.
“I’ll give them credit, they’re a great team, but we’re going to get them next year.”
Clarke, who was named the tournament’s MVP, kept the Crusaders in the game early on, countering three straight successful three-point attempts by Ram Logan Boehmer. Leading the game with 21 points, Clarke hit
five from beyond the arc, including two straight in the opening minutes.
“We switched up our defence a little bit – we were playing the zone – and that usually allows a few more three (pointers),” said Clarke. “So we had to change that after a while because Logan Boehmer is a great
shooter, getting three in a row.
“I was just feeling it. That’s my spot and they were leaving me open. They were really focusing on (Crusader) Logan (Gray), which allows me to do some damage.”
Tied 48-48 with just seconds left in the third period, Crusader Ryan Sutherland broke the game’s final tie sinking a pair of free throws. Sutherland then started the fourth sinking a free throw and the Crusaders expanded
their lead with Clarke storming the key for two and Arthur Mauro putting one off the glass from the paint. Clarke then tossed in a hook shot to make it 57-50.
“For a lot of us, this is our last high school game, so we were a little more serious,” said Clarke. “Both teams really competed hard.”
Although closely guarded by the Rams, Gray went on to grab 19 rebounds and score 20 points while Sutherland topped out with 11.
For the Rams, Boehmer led the way with 15 points and Robin Smith and Riley Smith each produced 10 points.
Making the Crusaders’ loss on Monday all the more bitter was their failure to hold a 27-4 lead accumulated in the first half.
“Three of my best players got into foul trouble and they started to come back,” said Crusaders head coach Sean McCarron. “Our defence just wasn’t there and Porter Creek played one of the best games I’ve seen
them play this whole year.
“Leading into today’s game, that loss was the best thing to happen to us. With them beating us, we knew we weren’t going to take them lightly.
“We had the lead most of the game, but it was never comfortable.”
The championship final was a rematch of the Super Hoops final, which the Crusaders won 66-50.
The FH Collins Warriors finished the championships in third.
Arthur Mauro (Vanier)
Robin Smith (PC)
Dylan Salvisberg (FH)
Logan Boehmer (PC)
Logan Gray (Vanier)
MVP Gavin Clarke (Vanier)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com