The junior girls final of the Yukon Basketball Championships featured a hot-potato-lead neither team could hold for long.
Fairly comfortable leads were traded throughout the game, but the Porter Creek Rams had it when it mattered most.
The Rams came back in the final minutes to defeat the F.H. Collins Warriors 60-57 at Vanier Catholic Secondary on Friday.
With the Yukon title, the Rams closed the books on an undefeated season.
“They’ve been together a couple years because they shuffled the age categories over the last couple years,” said Rams head coach Jenna Frerot. “We’ve played pretty much the same team over the last two years.
“So they’ve grown quite a bit as a team and we have been able to work on their skills with the same group of girls, which has been great.”
The Rams finished the first period up, were tied at the end of the second, and fell behind by nine points in the third at 49-40 for the Warriors.
Down 51-47 midway through the fourth, the Rams took the lead on back-to-back steals and subsequent lay-ups by Thea Carey.
“They are a really good match for us, so it can easily go either way,” said Frerot. “In the fourth quarter we managed to slow things down, and were able to make some smart passes and box-out on rebounds.”
Carey led her team with 16 points and was named championship MVP. She had two Basketball Yukon execs trying to convince her try out for Team Yukon following the medal ceremony.
“She’s got quads of steel,” said Frerot. “Not only is she the only junior player to absolutely just stuff someone so amazingly, her fitness is amazingly good and her defence – no one defends like Thea.
“We know if there’s a press that needs to be broken or a basket that needs to be scored, Thea needs to be on the court.”
Also scoring for the Rams was Mia Greenough with 14 points. Dannica Nelson had the biggest impact on the scoreboard for the Warriors, putting 14 up. Teammate Jen Mendelson had nine.
The Rams team, which has been playing together for a few years, lost to the Warriors the last two years in the final.
“(We’re) ecstatic,” said Carey. “We’re all just so close and we’re all friends in school and we just get along so well. There’s no problem with anyone between us.”
The hosting Vanier Crusaders took the bronze.
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Kaitlyn Holloway (Crusaders)
Sigourney Whipple-Grantham (Warriors)
Dannica Nelson (Warriors)
Line Jensen (Rams)
Mia Greenough (Rams)
MVP Thea Carey (Rams)