A 63-35 loss to Manitoba may have marked the end of the road for Team Yukon’s girls’ basketball team, but if success is measured by improvement, the Canada Summer Games being held this week and next in PEI was worth the trip for the young team.
“Definitely (we improved),” said Yukon’s Krista Mooney. “We had a really rough start against BC and Alberta in one day, but we improved every game in our playing and our shooting.
“I think everyone got what they wanted from it.”
The Yukon girls had a tough road to travel from the start, playing the two teams that would end at the top of their pool on the same day. In their opening game against BC on Monday, 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.
“They learned - not just in this game - different ways to deal with pressure; they had to learn to dribble through it, to shoot the ball, to pass under pressure,” said Yukon head coach Mark Hureau. “They rebounded better, but today, even when the first half was rather one-sided, they were playing the best help-defence, so when one person gets beat, the next person is there.
“Our goal was to hold it under 70 points and we did that.”
In their final game against Manitoba, Yukon looked like they were going to take a bruising, scoring a total of nine points to Manitoba’s 38 in the first half. However, the Yukon girls turned up the juice in the third, actually outscoring Manitoba 18-7, including going on a 12-point run at one point.
“It was our last game and we wanted to give it our all,” said Mooney, who led the team with 13 points. “We said at the beginning of the game we’d try our hardest, but in the first half we realized that we could pick it up a little more.
“(In the third) we started getting aggressive with our passes.”
Although Manitoba is not the type of team to let up, according to Hureau, substitutions on the their bench may have played a factor.
“Honestly, they had a big enough lead they started sitting some players and their best player had a sprained ankle - she hurt it the first quarter against us,” said Hureau. “She waited a couple more minutes, hurt it again, and she’s probably saving it for the next game.”
Bringing in the second-largest haul was Dharia Beatty with 10 points, followed by seven from Claire Abbott, who was playing in her final game as a Yukoner, as she will be moving to Ottawa with her family immediately following the tournament.
“My parents have driven down to Ottawa and I’ll be going with them right after,” said Abbott. “That puts more pressure on me with these being my last games playing for Team Yukon, so it’s going to be hard saying goodbye.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org