Sheridan Curteanu of the Vanier Crusaders drives through the lane during the girls final of the Yukon Senior Basketball Championships on March 7. The Crusaders beat the F.H. Collins Warriors 74-57 and Curteanu was named tournament MVP. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

F.H. Collins Warriors, Vanier Crusaders win 2019 Yukon Senior Basketball Championships

The Warriors won the girls title while the Crusaders won an eighth-straight boys title

The Yukon Senior Basketball Championships ended on March 7 with the boys and girls finals at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

In the girls final, the Vanier Crusaders faced off against the F.H. Collins Warriors.

The Warriors entered the game looking to avenge their loss in the Super Hoops final and opened up a 13-8 lead after a low-scoring first quarter.

The game opened up in the second quarter as both teams found their scoring touch. The halftime score was 37-26 for the Warriors.

In the second half, the Warriors expanded their lead further. At the end of three, it was 58-36 for the Warriors.

The Crusaders made some noise in the fourth, outscoring the Warriors 21-16, but F.H. Collins cruised to a 74-57 win.

Warriors head coach Claire Abbott said her team stuck to its gameplan and stepped up at key moments.

“I loved how they started the game and I loved how they finished each quarter,” said Abbott. “(Each quarter) is kind of like a chapter and they closed it really well. There might have been stuff in the middle they could have improved on, but they showed in the next quarter that they cleaned it up.”

Warriors’ player Sheridan Curteanu was named tournament MVP.

The day’s basketball concluded with the boys final featuring the Vanier Crusaders and the Porter Creek Rams.

The Crusaders entered the game having won the last seven Yukon championships, while the Rams haven’t lifted the trophy in more than a decade.

Porter Creek started the game utilizing their strength and size to attack the basket, jumping out to an early 11-5 lead in the middle of the first quarter. Vanier didn’t go away quietly though, and fought to stick with the Rams. At the end of the first, the Rams were up 22-18.

Sparked by strong play from the bench, the Rams continued to roll in the second quarter and led the game 46-39 at halftime.

Seven straight titles don’t happen by accident though, and the Crusaders regrouped at halftime and immediately went on a 15-5 run to take a 54-51 lead with 6:33 left in the third. A time-out helped the Rams find their nerve again and the score after three quarters was tied 68-68.

The fourth quarter was back and fourth, with neither team able to build a comfortable lead.

With 1:11 left to play, the Crusaders had an 87-81 lead over the Rams. The Rams scored to make it 87-83 with 42.1 seconds to play.

After the Rams scored two more points, the Crusaders fouled a Rams player to send him to the line with 3.2 seconds to play a chance to tie.

Porter Creek hit its first free throw, but missed its second. The Crusaders grabbed the defensive rebound and a loose ball foul by the Rams stopped the clock with 0.2 seconds to go.

Final score was 87-86 for the Crusaders, who have now won eight straight Yukon Championships.

Sean McCarron, head coach for the Crusaders, said heading into the season the expectations were tempered by the high quality of basketball from all the high schools.

We knew every team was going ot be solid — it was going to be a battle,” said McCarron. “The focus was just to play really well all season, and we did.”

McCarron said his team knew Porter Creek would play to its strengths — size and strength — and that the Crusaders would need to try to mitigate that, at least in part.

“Their advantage is obviously size and strength and they went to that. We needed to match a little bit of that, and then the hope is eventually we get our legs, eventually we hit some shots, and the fact that we were only down seven (at halftime) considering we were getting pushed around and had kids in foul trouble, at that point you’re just trying to weather that run,” said McCarron. “You’re just trying to stay alive until we can get our shots. In the third quarter, we started hitting shots we have been hitting all season.”

Tournament MVP was Josh Rumbaoa of the Crusaders.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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