Confident Rams end season on top

With only the three Whitehorse high schools throwing their hats in the ring for the Yukon Basketball Championships, last week’s tournament was much the same as the regular season capper, the Super Hoops playoffs.

With only the three Whitehorse high schools throwing their hats in the ring for the Yukon Basketball Championships, last week’s tournament was much the same as the regular season capper, the Super Hoops playoffs.

However, competition between the same varsity teams did not result in the same outcome.

Losing 63-53 to the FH Collins Warriors in the Super Hoops final, the Porter Creek Rams avenged the loss with an 82-74 win over the Warriors in the girls’ championship final Thursday at Porter Creek Secondary.

“We played our trap that we hadn’t used against them all year and we got some good turnover off of that,” said Rams head coach Trevor Hale. “This team attacks well when they’re on defence and sets up momentum

for offence.”

After trading one-point leads through most of the first half, the Rams began to pull away in the second quarter. Up 26-23, the Rams put the squeeze on the Warriors with a nine-point run, with Krista Mooney sinking a

basket followed by two free-throw, a three-point play by Jenna Blanchette and a fastbreak capitalized on by Shannon Thompson.

Scoring 17 points and named to the tournament’s All-Star team, Thompson found a heightened level of mental toughness helped her team to the win.

“We just got the confidence,” said Thompson. “We were always down – we thought FH could beat us – but we got confident and we brought it.

“We wanted it really bad – all our seniors were really pumped. We got our player, Krista Mooney back – she had back surgery – and she brought a lot of energy back to the team.”

Mooney, who, like Thompson, was named to the tournament All-Star team, led her team with 19 points.

Although the Warriors had the two highest scorers in the game, foul trouble early on kept some of her players apprehensive, said Warriors head coach Ann Jirousek.

“Angela Burke fouled out in the third quarter – that really hurt because not only is she strong on defence, she’s a physical threat all the time,” said Jirousek. “And Dahria (Beatty) had four fouls on her since the second

quarter, so she had to play a little more timid than she usually does. But other players did step up.”

Beatty, who was named to the All-Star squad, not only led the Warriors in points, she was the game’s high-scorer with 22 points.

According to Hale, some tournament play in Alaska helped his team find the confidence they needed to rise above the Warriors.

“These girls changed their mindset, that they were going to beat FH,” said Hale. “We went to the Winter Tournament in Delta Junction in Alaska and we played three great teams and played great basketball. They

decided that they were going to play the way they did in Alaska.”

Despite going winless in Delta Junction, “that was the tournament they finally realized that they could believe in themselves,” he said.

Perhaps helping the Rams more than the Delta junction tournament was a 54-41 win over the Warriors on Wednesday night.

“(Tonight) was like yesterday’s game; the first half was neck-and-neck,” said Thompson. “We decided to calm it down, swing the ball and wait for right opportunity and play good ball.

“It was the first time we had a win against them when they had their full team there.”

Following Mooney in scoring was Thompson and Blanchette, each with 17 points.

Named tournament MVP was Ram Amanda Keleher, scoring 15 points in the final.

“She’s just consistent, night in and night out,” said Hale. “She seems to play happy all the time and seems to just enjoy the game, and she’s solid defensively. She was our top player tonight.”

Also getting in double-digits for the Warriors was All-Star Nesha Wright with 20 points and Burke with 11.

With no teams from outside Whitehorse present at the championships, the Vanier Crusaders finished third.

Tournament All-Stars

Shannon Thompson (PC)

Dahria Beatty (FH)

Sheena Greenlaw (Vanier)

Nesha Wright (FH)

Krista Mooney (PC)

MVP Amanda Keleher (PC)

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com