Two Yukon youth basketball teams drove to Skagway before driving to the rim this past weekend.
The Whitehorse Lynx girls team and the recently formed Wolf Pack boys team grabbed wins at the Boyd Worley Elementary Basketball Tournament at Skagway City School.
The Lynx went 3-2 in five games and the Wolf Pack went 2-2 in four.
“We went down last year and I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better since last year,” said Lynx coach Christine Kirk. “Most of the girls who went down were in the same group and they’ve improved so much in one year.
“We did super well against the American teams, so it was really good.”
“We were very happy with them,” said Wolf Pack coach Mark Hureau. “We felt, skill-wise, they were the deepest team, just some inexperience showing. But we did a lot better than we thought we were going to do and some players that we have, have a great future ahead in basketball if they choose to play it.”
The Lynx team opened with a pair of losses before three straight wins in the elementary school age tournament. (No official final team placements were determined following the round-robin.)
The Lynx lost in overtime to the younger of two Haines teams and then dropped a game to the Juneau HoopRats. The Whitehorse team, who went 2-2 at the tournament last year, then finished with wins over Hoonah, Skagway and Haines’ older squad.
“We played a much younger Haines team and ended up losing in overtime and it was almost like they’ve never competed before,” said Kirk. “By the end of the tournament we beat the older Haines team easily and they were competing so hard.”
“We started off slow. I think for some of our girls it was their first time playing in a real game,” said Lynx coach Diedre Davidson. “But we saw Melia Hudgin do a really good job offensively and was a team leader in all of the games. She made a huge difference for the team.
“In one of our games our game plan was to shut down one of the really good players on the Skagway team and we gave a defensive assignment to two of our girls (Emily Johnson and Shae Garrett-Charlie) to cover her … and they stepped up and did a great job.”
The Lynx team, which is in its fourth year, is an under-13 squad with players from various Whitehorse elementary schools. They hope to finish the year with a tournament in Haines next month.
The Wolf Pack players were the new kids on the block in Skagway. The development team grew out of a summer camp held by Basketball Yukon and became a club in September. Like the Lynx, the players on the team selected their own name and logo.
“It’s a group of boys in Grades 6, 7 and 8 that was really an offshoot of our summer camp that we ran in the last week of June,” said Basketball Yukon’s Tim Brady. “We had a big turnout of kids and there was a group of boys in that age group who wanted to continue to play, so we started a program over the summer.”
The Wolf Pack lost to Juneau by four points, beat Haines by just three points and thumped Skagway by over 20 points before dropping their final game to Hoonah by two. (Official scores were not available by press time.)
It was the first tournament experience for the team, “for some of them it was their first game,” said Hureau.
“They improved every game. I think we probably would have gone undefeated if we cared about winning. The kids played as well in their first game as in their last game.”
The Wolf Pack club is still accepting players. For more information email Basketball Yukon at email@example.com or contact Brady at (867) 334-9498.
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