The F.H. Collins Warriors will take a perfect undefeated record into the Yukon Basketball Championships this week. The Warrior senior girls team is the one to beat.
The Warriors capped an undefeated run in the Whitehorse high school league to take the Super Hoops title in a 56-39 win over the Vanier Crusaders on Friday at Vanier Catholic Secondary.
“The girls have played really well and we’ve had a strong group of athletes put in a lot of time to get better over the years, so they’ve been great to work with,” said Warriors head coach Tyler Bradford. “The girls came out with a lot of intensity, especially on the defensive end, and kind of took over the game.”
“F.H. is a phenomenal team,” said Crusaders head coach Sean McCarron. “They’re a really well balanced team. Their quickness was the difference – their ability to run the ball and get down the floor. And that’s everybody: their post players, their guards are quick, and they play aggressive defence. So it’ll be a challenge to put together a win next week when it matters most. But we’re going to try.”
The Warriors took control right from the tipoff and finished the first half up 36-16. In the second quarter the Warriors created more turnovers than a pastry shop in apple season, many coming in steals by Quynh Nguyen, who was named league MVP.
“Quynh was fantastic,” said Bradford. “She puts in a lot of effort and plays with a lot of intensity. She’s a very talented player. Great on the offensive end, great on the defensive end. A good team leader.”
Down by over 30 points in the third, the Crusaders fought back and made it a game again.
Vanier came alive again after team All-Star Sadie Pater was taken out of the game with a head injury. Pater had to be helped off the court following what may have been an elbow to the head.
The Crusaders went on to outscore the Warriors 16-6 in the fourth quarter.
“When she went down, the team can either fall apart or step up and play as hard as they can,” said McCarron. “A lot of the girls who came on in the second half hadn’t played in the first half. So I think it was a combination of them being well rested and making the best of their time on the floor.”
Nguyen, Warriors Player of the Game Jacy Sam and All-Star teammate Jay Kelly each had 10 points in the final. Warrior Sam Burgis, who was named a Super Hoops All-Star, put eight points on the board.
Crusaders Player of the Games Rean Portea led her team with eight points.
The Crusaders arrived in the final with a 46-36 win over the Porter Creek Rams in the semifinal on Thursday.
The Rams, who are the defending Yukon champs, placed third in Super Hoops with the loss.
“We probably played our best basketball game of the year,” said McCarron. “It wasn’t perfect … but we had longer stretches of smart, aggressive play, longer stretches of what we wanted to do. Working hard to minimize our mistakes paid off yesterday.”
Yukon Basketball Championship will wrap up this Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary.
Emily Mervyn (Rams)
Linsey Eby (Crusaders)
Sadie Pater (Crusaders)
Sam Burgis (Warriors)
Rachel Kinvig (Warriors)
MVP Quynh Nguyen (Warriors)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com