The Porter Creek Rams senior boys will not be winless going into the Yukon Basketball Championships.
The Rams secured their first victory of the season with an 88-63 win over the F.H. Collins Warriors on Friday at Porter Creek Secondary.
With the senior championships beginning next week, it was a good time for the team to get a confidence boost, said Rams head coach Paul MacDonald.
“I’ve been telling the guys all along: you really just need to win a couple of games and you can still be champions,” he said. “We’re getting better every game and I’m just hoping we can continue the momentum.”
It was the team’s first win of the season, which included the Don Hather Tournament in Skagway, the Super Hoops season and the Father Michael Troy Classic the previous week in Edmonton.
The Rams have had three one-point losses this season, including one to the Vanier Crusaders on Feb. 12.
The team now has a 1-12 season record.
“Certainly the experience (in Edmonton) has lent itself well to the last two games,” said MacDonald. “It showed the boys another level of basketball. We were under intense pressure all three games down there and the boys played through it. We didn’t get the win, but we did get the Most Sportsmanship (Award) out of 16 teams.”
Rams’ Scott Peterson had a double-double in the win, scoring 21 points and scooping 25 rebounds. Teammate Kyle Lowes led the team in scoring with 34 points and nine rebounds. Ram Peter Jensen had 14 points, one more than captain Breyin Wiens.
“They out-played us, they deserved to win – it’s that simple,” said Warriors head coach James Shaw. “We had a bad start. We got back in the third, got it down to eight, but they pushed back.
“It’ll make the championships more interesting. They’ve been close all year and now they’ve broken through, so that’ll give them a whole lot more confidence.”
The Warriors’ Bryan Hermosa had 38 points and captain Owen Hedstrom-Langford put nine points on the board.
The Vanier Crusaders are taking the best Super Hoops record into the championships with just one loss, to the Warriors, this season.
Porter Creek girls hold onto lead
Porter Creek’s senior girls were never trailing the Warriors on Friday, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
The Warriors twice began to close the gap, but couldn’t take the lead as the Rams closed out the regular season with a 58-47 win.
“I was proud of the girls for keeping their heads,” said Rams coach Kasia Leary. “That’s usually when it’s easy to go downhill. When they catch up it’s hard to pull ahead again.”
Down 20-10 early in the second quarter, the Warriors pulled within a point of the Rams on a free-throw from Lynsey Keaton at 26-25. But the Rams stayed afloat with three straight baskets – including a buzzer-beater at half – from Hannah Milner.
The Warriors also had a 10-point run in the third to make it 47-39 with three baskets from Sam Burgis followed by two from Quynh Nguyen.
“We’ve done really well against Vanier. Against Porter Creek we seem to struggle,” said Warriors co-head coach Diedre Davidson. “Porter Creek is a very physical team and we’re not used to it. We can’t seem to score off of it.”
Milner finished the game with 13 points and while teammate Daria Jordan produced 24.
“Those are our two starting point-guards. They work together really well,” said Leary. “They control the court, control the plays.”
Warriors’ Nguyen had 21 points and Burgis 13.
Of the three Whitehorse senior girls teams, none seem to be the favourite heading into next week’s championship.
In an interesting dynamic, the Rams consistently defeat the Warriors, while the Warriors consistently defeat the Vanier Crusaders, and the Crusaders consistently defeat the Rams.
“We’ve had very close games with F.H. (Collins). This is the largest gap we’ve had,” said Leary. “Vanier has had larger gaps – we have yet to beat Vanier. So we’re hungry for that at the championships.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com