Resilient Crusaders come back for Yukon title

The Vanier Crusaders had a fire to put out in the senior boys final of the YSAA Yukon Basketball Championships on Thursday at F.H. Collins Secondary.

The Vanier Crusaders had a fire to put out in the senior boys final of the YSAA Yukon Basketball Championships on Thursday at F.H. Collins Secondary.

The Porter Creek Rams came out red-hot and were burning up the scoreboard. The Crusaders, meanwhile, stayed cool under the collar, which made the difference in the end, said Crusaders head coach Sean McCarron.

“We knew they would go on a run at some point – it happened in the first five minutes – but we didn’t panic because there was a long time to play,” said McCarron. “We’ve been through it before, which helped.”

The Crusaders had a big second half to win the Yukon senior boys championship 86-73 over the Rams.

“We’ve been doing this all season,” said Crusaders captain Jon Koltun. “We’ve been starting out flat, having troubles at the start of games. Our whole team is just super-resilient. We just keep fighting. There’s no quit on our team.”

Captain and Rams All-Star Breyin Wiens led the charge out of the gate, sinking back-to-back three-pointers to put the Rams up 8-2. The Rams took their biggest lead of the game at 19-8 on a free throw from Kyle Lowes. Porter Creek ended the first quarter up 22-15 and reached half up 36-31.

Vanier was a different team in the second half. Crusaders All-Star John Apostol put two on the board, and teammates Josh Tobias and Louis Aguinaldo each put up three-pointers to give Vanier a 39-38 lead.

Apostol, who led the Crusaders with 30 points, then sunk a free throw and an outside shot to put Vanier up 44-40. Aguinaldo had four three-pointers in his 14-point performance.

“They started firing,” said Rams head coach Paul MacDonald. “They must have been 65 per cent for the first couple minutes. They were making outside shots. McCarron is an awesome coach, he picked apart our little zone down there. So they were hitting outside and when they weren’t there, they were pounding the ball inside.”

A win by Porter Creek would have been the completion of a Cinderella story. The Rams had a dreadful start to the season, going winless in their first 12 games. The team didn’t get its first win until mid-February in the Rams’ final regular season game, beating the F.H. Collins Warriors 88-63.

“We had nothing left in the tank,” said MacDonald. “We won the two playoff games; we beat F.H., we beat Vanier. That took everything we had.

“We never gave up, but they have more firepower on that team,” he added. “We had more hustle the other night, they had more hustle tonight. That’s what it comes down to.”

Koltun, who had seven points in the final, was named tournament MVP.

“It feels great. It was unexpected; I thought someone else on the team was going to get it,” said Koltun. “But I’ll take it.”

The Grade 12 player just returned to action for the playoffs after missing two months with a concussion. Koltun took an elbow to the head during a regular season game.

“I could notice it in the cardio, that’s for sure,” said Koltun. “The guys were setting me up for easy shots.”

Lowes led the Rams in points with 22 while his captain, Wiens, who fouled out early in the fourth quarter, had 17.

Porter Creek’s Scott Peterson, plus Ken Valdez and Bryan Hermosa from the third place Warriors, were also named to the tournament All-Star team.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read