Losing their final games at the National Championships in Kamloops, BC, last week, Team Yukon’s girls and boys 15-and-under basketball teams both finished last out of the nine teams at the tournament.
Playing for eighth, the girls’ team lost to Saskatchewan 56-32 and the boys fell to Manitoba 107-31.
In their closest game of the tournament the girls fell back early: 14 points in the first quarter.
“I tried to play a certain type of defence; I stuck with it a little too long, and for the better part of the game we were within 14 or 15 points,” said the girls’ coach Sean McCarron.
During the final five minutes, as McCarron put fresh lines into the game, Saskatchewan increased its lead to 24.
“That’s a pretty good performance for our girls,” said McCarron. “Saskatchewan is traditionally quite strong — I mean their boys were fourth — and the girls were quite good, but we played very well that game.”
Up-and-comer Dahria Beatty led Team Yukon with 26 points in its final outing. The Grade 8 student, who was mostly competing against girls a year older, proved herself to be a valuable asset in every game.
“I think she had more points than any girl we played against in that one game,” said McCarron. “None of the Saskatchewan players could really stop her one-on-one.
“She had the potential, I thought, to do it every game,” added McCarron. “She’s a great player.”
The boys played Manitoba, a team from the A pool.
“That game was tough, the other pool was pretty stacked with talent,” said boys’ coach Tyler Bradford. “They are pretty talented boys. One of their players went on to be on the all-star team.”
Whitehorse’s Riley Simpson-Fowler took player of the game against Manitoba.
“He had a strong tournament overall, so that was good for him,” said Bradford.
Six of Team Yukon’s girls are eligible to return to the team next season and each has already showed a desire to do so.
“They all have expressed interest to go back next year and learn from the week down there, and come back even stronger the following year,” said McCarron.
“We lacked some game experience going into it — something to grow on for next time,” said Bradford.
“And I feel some of our boys could work on their skill development still and there’ll be time for that. Basketball Yukon is hosting a fall, regional training centre in October.
“So that’ll be a chance for our boys, and other boys from the Yukon, to come out and work on their skill development.”