Talk about a bad draw.
It’s tough enough having to begin the Canada Summer Games with two events in one day, but to have both against BC and Alberta – two possible gold-medal contenders – that’s a tough road to tread.
“We are in the unfortunately position of being the starting position for two teams that are revving up their programs to win the gold medal – on the same day,” said Yukon girls head coach Mark Hureau. “So we have been thrown to the wolves twice and they are not looking to take it easy on us; they are looking to set the tone for the whole tournament.
“But that’s not an excuse.”
In their opening game against BC, Yukon started the Games with a 111-27 loss, followed by an 89-14 defeat to Alberta in the afternoon at Credit Union Place in Summerside.
Still not out of the woods, the Yukon lost 89-36 to Saskatchewan on Monday and fell 111-37 to New Brunswick on Tuesday.
Competing against their neighbours to the south, the Yukon had a strong second period with 13 points, but fell flat in the fourth, with BC holding them to just two points.
“We shot really well against BC, from the free-throw line and we shot well (overall), but we turned it over so much it just didn’t matter,” said Hureau. “We go a lot of rebounds, but there were just way too many turnovers.”
Again, the Yukon girls had weak finishes against Saskatchewan with just four points in the final quarter. However, they did finish strong against Alberta, more than doubling their points in the fourth, moving from six points to 14 with Yukon’s Krista Mooney sinking four two-pointers, bringing her up to 10 in the game.
“They lightened up the pressure a little bit and we hit some shots,” said Hureau. “We missed a lot of free-throws in the first half.
“And our girls settled down a bit too.”
In Monday’s loss to Saskatchewan, the Yukon showed some real potential in the third, going on an eight-point run with Mooney, Dharia Beatty and Clair Abbott each contributing.
“I think it had more to do with our subbing, and girls just running out of energy,” said Hureau. “We didn’t turn it over. If they don’t pressure us we can do things one-on-one or as a team at half-court – we can score. But they know they know that all they have to do is pressure us in the backcourt to force us into mistakes.”
Hureau will be the first to say his team is having an excellent time at the Games, but for one Yukon players the trip to PEI brings mixed emotions.
Abbott, who plays for the FH Collins Warriors during the school year, is moving to Ottawa immediately following the Games, so this is the last time she’ll wear a Yukon jersey.
“My parents have driven down to Ottawa and I’ll be going with them right after,” said Abbott. “That puts more pressure one me with these being my last Games playing for Team Yukon, so it’s going to be hard saying goodbye.”
On Thursday, the girls’ team faces a do-or-die situation in a game against Manitoba. If Yukon does not achieve its first win, the team will be eliminated.
“My team is really young; six of them should be playing a division down,” said Hureau. “So some of them are jumping from Grade 8 ball to playing BC and Alberta in one day. It’s just not even fair to expect them to do that.
“There’s no easy games; I asked (the Saskatchewan coach) last night and he said they’re going for gold.”
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