The battle for bronze between Yukon and Nunavut was as tight as a snare drum in the first quarter. After that, not so much.
Team Yukon placed fourth out of four teams with a 62-37 loss to Nunavut in the bronze medal game in junior female basketball at the Arctic Winter Games last Friday.
“We ran out of gas and couldn’t compete in the third quarter,” said Yukon head coach Nicole Schroeder. “Everything that was working for us in the first two quarters wasn’t there in the third.
“In the fourth we came back, battled, but by that point they were ahead by too much.”
Yukon went basket-for-basket up to 14-14 before a 10-point run by Nunavut. Yukon captain Quynh Nguyen ended the Nunavut run with a layup to make it 24-16.
The 10-point run was still visible at half with Yukon down 31-21.
The young Yukon squad, with two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old playing in the U18 tournament, went winless in the tournament.
“We did what we could, we hustled hard, but in the end we’re still a very young team so our skill-set isn’t there yet,” said Nguyen. “We’ll be a good team in a couple years.
“I feel like we start to lose focus after half time.”
Nguyen led the team in the game and the tournament with 12 points in the bronze game and 43 at the Games.
Teammates Jacy Sam, Galena Roots and Jayden Demchuk each had six points in the game. Sam was second on the team for scoring in Fairbanks with 31 points.
Nguyen, Sam and Roots all played on Yukon’s gold winning team from the 2012 Arctic Games in Whitehorse.
“Our girls demonstrated a lot of heart, a lot of hustle, throughout the entire tournament,” said Schroeder. “We’re definitely the younger team here. They still competed. They made other teams’ lives difficult on the court, they played hard, played strong, and did all the little things. I couldn’t be more proud of them.
“It was never an easy game against us and that was our goal.”
Alaska dunked Northwest Territories 73-49 on Saturday for the gold medal.
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