Tenacious D had the tenacity to make it interesting, but the Bulls used their size to claim the title at the Yukon Men’s Basketball League final.
The Bulls withstood a late-game push by Tenacious D to win 58-50 on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary.
“We’re feeling good. That was a really scrappy battle,” said Bulls captain Nathan Thomson. “All the props to Tenacious D. They played well all year and they have some good gritty players. But at the same time our team came together in the last half of the year and we played really well together. We hit big shots when we needed to and played hard defence. I think defence is what we built our foundation on for this season.”
The Bulls might have jumped out to a nine-point lead to start, had a 10-point lead at half and finished up by eight points, but they weren’t sitting so comfortably late in the game.
After back-to-back jumpers from Bulls’ Christian Coldea for a 41-28 lead – the biggest of the game – early in the second half, Tenacious D began to close the gap, pulling within three at 45-42 on a drive through the paint from captain Colin LaForme.
Five minutes later with only three on the clock, Tenacious D high-scorer Sam Asiedu drained a three-pointer to cut the Bulls’ lead to one at 49-48. Asiedu then made a mid-court steal but Tenacious D missed on three consecutive shots for the lead.
“They came out strong and hard, which we knew they would,” said LaForme. “They have size and took advantage of the mismatches. We knew if we hung around we’d have a chance … They got up to 13 points at some point and we ended up battling back. Chipping away, chipping away.
“I think we used all our gas trying to get caught up and didn’t have enough to finish it out.”
Following a free throw from Coldea, teammate Andrew Craigen hit a long bomb for three with a minute left for a 53-48 lead. In the final seconds Coldea stole and capitalized on the layup to seal the deal.
“They had some big shots from guys who have been doing it all year for them,” said Thomson. “Colin (LaForme) and Sam (Asiedu) from their team played really well and they just grinded back. Tenacious is a great word for their team. They definitely had the talent to win this game and I’m surprised we came out on top.”
Asiedu led the game with 27 points and LaForme had 12.
Coldea and Craigen put 18 each on the board while captain Thomson contributed 11.
The Bulls finished first in the regular season, taking the lead from Willy Bears in the last game. They went undefeated in the playoffs in the league’s third championship since it was formed in 2014.
Tenacious D lost their first playoff game before winning three straight to reach the final. They beat the Caulkers 78-62 in Friday’s semifinal to reach the final.
“Our team came together really well in the playoffs, started clicking, working together and hitting shots,” said LaForme.
MVP – Jeremy McCulloch (Monstars)
Defensive Player – David Thexton (Caulkers)
Sportsmanship – Graham Cochrane (Tenacious D)
Most Improved – Kenny Burns (Willey Bears)
Hustle/ODB Award – Rob Russel (Bulls)
Three-Point Winner – Karl Gruber (Monstars)
Contact Tom Patrick at