In the closest final on the day, the Vanier Crusaders junior girls won the Yukon title without a point to spare.
The team narrowly pulled off a 51-50 win over the hosting F.H. Collins Warriors in the Grade 9/10 girls of the Yukon Basketball Championships on Saturday.
“We played them last night and beat them 70-50, so this game was way closer,” said Crusaders head coach Jane Londero. “I told the team, ‘Both teams want this, so you have to go out there and fight for every point.’”
The two finalist teams traded the lead through the first half and went into halftime tied 27-27.
The Crusaders, who went undefeated at the championship, eked out a one-point lead by the end of the third but fell behind briefly in the fourth quarter.
Down 47-42, the Warriors moved to within one with four straight successful free throws from Dylan Massie. Massie then took a pass from teammate Emily Johnson for the lead.
The Crusaders took back the lead on an offensive rebound from Aleshia Kramer for 49-48.
“Aleshia was one of our posts and was fantastic under the net and was really using her height to her advantage,” said Londero. “She was getting points all the time. This game was the first time there was someone the same height as her.”
Vanier’s KC Mooney then put in what became the winning basket on a pass from point guard Krysha Rubio.
Down 51-49, Massie drained her fifth straight free throw with 17.8 seconds on the clock before missing the second from the line.
With the Warriors in possession and the final seconds ticking away, Crusaders’ Abby Cuenza stole the ball mid court to seal the deal.
“We’re really proud of ourselves. We worked really hard for this and I think hard work pays off,” said Cuenza, who was named league MVP.
“I think everyone stood out, to be honest.”
Kramer led the Crusaders with 14 points in the final while Mooney had 12. Teammate Isabel Magsucang put 10 on the board and Cuenza six.
“She’s the most consistent player,” said Londero of MVP Cuenza. “When she goes for the basket we’re pretty sure we’re going to get the points. And she’s a very unselfish player.”
Massie led the game with 17 points in the final and All-Star Sheridan Curteanu contributed 13.
The Porter Creek Rams, the defending junior girls champs, took the bronze.
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Sheridan Curteanu (Warriors)
Emily Johnson (Warriors)
Aleshia Kramer (Crusaders)
Jennifer Combs (Cougars)
Landyn Blisner (Rams)
MVP Abby Cuenza (Crusaders)