The Yukon Schools Athletic Association hosted its Senior Basketball Championships from March 8 to 12 with the finals happening March 12 at Porter Creek Secondary School in Whitehorse.
Action got underway with the girls final, played between the F.H. Collins Warriors and the Vanier Crusaders.
The Warriors jumped out to an early lead utilizing a full-court press that the Crusaders have struggled to break all season, leading 27-7 at the end of the first quarter.
It was largely more of the same in the second quarter, with F.H. Collins up 49-19 at halftime.
The Warriors’ lead grew again in the third, finishing 75-31.
When the dust settled on the game, the final score was 92-44 for the Warriors.
Following the game, a tournament MVP and a tournament all-star team were announced.
This year’s tournament MVP was Warriors player Maren Bilsky.
The all-star team consisted of Alyssa Cuenza and Nicole Farkas of the Vanier Crusaders, and Jealyn Minguito, Paige Seeley and Emma Boyd of the F.H. Collins Warriors.
With the victory, the Warriors secured an undefeated season, having already won the Jamie Shaw Memorial Tournament and Super Hoops earlier in the year.
“(It feels) amazing,” said Bilsky. “There is no other way to say it. I love my team. … We came so far and even though we played against one team, I thought we did amazing.”
The girls season took a strange path after the Porter Creek Rams withdrew, leaving the Crusaders and Warriors to play each other for the final portion of the year.
“I realized after we won this tournament that we haven’t lost a game this season,” said Bilsky. “It’s been a lot of hard work … but it was 100 per cent worth it, definitely. The feeling is 100 per cent worth it.”
While the girls final had a wire-to-wire winner, the boys final between the Porter Creek Rams and the Vanier Crusaders was back and forth with a number of lead changes.
Porter Creek took an early lead, but Vanier rebounded and the two teams stayed with a basket of each other through the first quarter. After the first, the score was 19-18 for Porter Creek.
Vanier’s shooting came alive in the second, and the Crusaders went into halftime with a 39-33 lead.
The Crusaders went on a 9-2 run to start the second half, but the Rams stayed in the game with a 16-7 run of their own to make the score after three quarters 55-51 for Vanier.
Separated by less than three points for most of the final quarter, the Rams were down 67-66 with just 3:29 left to play.
A 9-0 run, though, made the score 75-67 for the Rams with just 37.3 seconds remaining.
The final score was 79-69 for the Rams.
Like the girls game before it, the final wrapped up with the announcement of a tournament all-star team and MVP.
The all-star team consisted of Ralph Hermosa of the F.H. Collins Warriors, Josh Rumbaoa and Christian Miral of the Vanier Crusaders, and Kiiwaadin Swan and Broden Cull of the Porter Creek Rams.
The tournament MVP was Aiman Salim of the Porter Creek Rams.
Rams player Parker Hobbis said the win was a great way to end his high school career.
“It feels great,” said Hobbis. “To go this far and have all those practices, have all those late nights staying up shooting, it’s a great feeling. Both teams fought really hard and it’s great to finally take a win home.”
Hobbis said his team knew what to expect with Vanier and tried to take advantage of opportunities.
“Vanier is really good at getting up and staying up,” said Hobbis about the third-quarter run. “What happened was we had to make sure that our defence was set and we also had to make sure we were driving to the hoop because they were in foul trouble. If we could drive to the hoop and get a foul, we knew we were shooting anyways.”
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