Crusaders win sixth straight Yukon basketball title

When the crowd started to cheer “Let’s go, Vanier, let’s go,” at the start of the fourth quarter, the team hardly needed the encouragement.

When the crowd started to cheer “Let’s go, Vanier, let’s go,” at the start of the fourth quarter, the team hardly needed the encouragement.

The Vanier Crusaders were up by more than 30 points over the Porter Creek Rams. They also had five years of momentum behind them.

The Crusaders captured their school’s sixth consecutive senior boys title at the Yukon Basketball Championship at Porter Creek Secondary on March 16.

“I don’t know what to say. Eight of us are graduating … so we’re kind of happy we’re ending on a good note for us Grade 12s,” said Crusaders All-Star Ian New. “I hope we’re going to keep it going furthermore.”

It was another superb season for Vanier. The Crusaders went undefeated in the Whitehorse Super Hoops high school league and undefeated in the Yukon championship.

They took their sixth straight title with an 89-70 win over the Rams in the final.

“Every game is an opportunity to learn and improve. When you win a bunch of games you don’t want your team thinking there’s any guarantee out there,” said Crusader head coach Sean McCarron. “Porter Creek, in that first half, did exactly what I’ve been telling these guys they have the potential to do — out-rebound us, out-hustle us, out-shoot us, and tonight they actually did. We’re dangerous when we’re fast, aggressive and anticipate passes.”

The Crusaders were most dangerous in the third. After starting the quarter up 52-40, the Crusaders broke the 20-point mark on a jumper from New to make it 65-44. They then reached the 30-point mark on a three-pointer from Josh Rumbaoa to make it 76-46. A basket from Hines Viernes capped what was a 10-point run at 78-46.

“In that third quarter we got on the fast-break and got some easy lay-ups because our three-point shooting wasn’t great,” said McCarron. “We went back to the trap.… They broke it in the first quarter, (we) took it off for a quarter, and in the third quarter went back to it and it got us the win — the third quarter.”

New led the game with 25 points. The Grade 12 player joined the senior team while still in Grade 9 and will graduate with four senior titles under his belt.

Rumbaoa finished the game with 21 points and was named championship MVP.

“Josh is a fantastic player,” said McCarron. “ He’s got excellent fundamentals. He can shoot threes, which he did tonight, he can dribble with either hand, and over the championships he consistently contributed at both ends of the floor.”

“He’s in Grade 9, but he stepped up to the senior level,” said New. “When I was in Grade 9 I couldn’t do as much as he did at the Yukon champs. I’m happy because he’s my cousin as well.”

Dave Mindanao was third on the Crusaders in points with 18. Evan Milenk led the Rams with 17 points and teammate Brandon Barrett had 14 points. All three were named All-Stars.

“Porter Creek, they’re a dangerous team and we didn’t take that for granted,” said McCarron. “They gave us a really great final — I think the crowd enjoyed it. The energy here was fantastic.”

See Wednesday’s Yukon News for coverage of the senior girls final.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

All-Stars:

Ralph Hermosa (Warriors)

Evan Milenk (Rams)

Brandon Barrett (Rams)

Dave Mindanao (Crusaders)

Ian New (Crusaders)

MVP Josh Rumbaoa (Crusaders)

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