The Bears clawed their way to a first-place finish on Sunday.
After finishing the regular season in first place, the Bears took the Yukon Men’s Basketball League title with a 75-58 win over the second place Huskies on Sunday at Porter Creek Secondary.
“We had a good all-around dynamic,” said Bears captain Colin LaForme. “We’re a big team, big post players, and we had a couple hustle guards that made our team both fast and big. And we just worked together well; we have good ball movement, no one was selfish, no one was greedy. We just moved the ball and played basketball.”
The Bears finished the regular season in first place with a 6-2 record and beat the Eagles 76-72 in Thursday’s semi to reach the final.
They are the first team to raise the trophy in six or seven years. The league, which had six teams this season, was started up in October after years of drop-in nights with no formal league in place.
Three trophies from the old league were all attached together into one big, impressive championship cup for this season.
“We had a good turnout all season and I think the guys are happy,” said LaForme, the league organizer. “It’s fun: once it got to a playoff, you saw the level of intensity go up. Which is what you want
in a league: a fun league and then at playoff time you take it to the next level.
“It’s always nice winning the championship.”
After trailing early in the game, the Bears took the lead on an offensive rebound from LaForme, who then widened the gap to 18-10 on the first of three three-pointers from the captain. The Bears finished the first half up 39-25.
The Huskies just didn’t have the energy to match the Bears, said captain Will Chetcuti.
“We were a little bit drained, I’d say. They had a lot of three-pointers in the first half,” he said.
“This was kind of done by the first half. We couldn’t get back from 15 points.”
The Huskies opened the season with three straight losses before finding their groove. They won their final six games leading up to the final, finishing the regular season in second. They also beat the Bears 55-47 in their previous encounter.
“We’re stronger defensively, we have a zone we play,” said Chetcuti. “We know each other, we know where we play, where to pass, who’s going to be where.”
LaForme led the game in scoring, putting 29 points onto the board, while teammate Aaron Hutchison contributed 22.
Chetcuti topped the Huskies with 22 points and teammate Ben Yu Schott posted 12.
The Eagles took third with an 87-54 over the Timberwolves in the bronze game.
“We’re frustrated because we probably played our best all-around game tonight,” said Eagles captain Sean McCarron. “We’ve shown flashes in the previous nine games. We’d play one strong game and then a not-so-strong game and then another strong game, but we’re happy to have played well because we didn’t play so strong last game. It was good to end on a positive note.”
The Eagles, who finished the regular season at 5-3 for fourth, twice lost to the Timberwolves this season.
But the Eagles came out hot, taking a 13-0 lead on a pair of baskets from Jon Buckle, finishing the first half up 44-20.
“We hit a bunch of shots early and the confidence just kind of grows,” said McCarron. “And they were missing a few of their big guys. We had an advantage with three or four of our big guys who can rebound. And when you get out to a bit of a lead you don’t have to take as many chances, the other team has to take chances that could work out and today it worked out for us.”
McCarron led his team with 24-points, hitting the mark on four three-point attempts. Teammates Dave Thomson and Dave Outerbridge added 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Timberwolves’ Dave Stehelin racked up 15 points, and teammates Nate Thomson and Sean Schmidt each scored 10.
“We’re going to start the league back up again in January, after the exams are done … and we’ll try to get more guys out to the league, make it a bigger league,” said LaForme. “We’re looking for sponsors too.”
For more information, visit the league’s website at yukonmensbball.wix.com/yukon.
Contact Tom Patrick at