The smart money was definitely on the F.H. Collins Warriors in the junior girls final of the Yukon High School Basketball Championships.
They couldn’t lose.
The Warriors White squad launched a second-half comeback to defeat the Warriors Black 27-25 in the Grade 8/9 girls division final on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary.
“We worked as a team really well, we all cheered in a positive way and we executed our plays that we set up and made them work,” said Warriors White’s Jayden Demchuk. “We have a really positive team that cheers everybody on and I think that really helps us in a game.”
The Warriors White found themselves down 18-7 at the half and fought to make it 22-19 at the end of the third quarter.
White tied the game 23-23 on a jump shot from Maggie O’Connor-Brook.
After successful free-throws by Black’s Georgia Gaw and White’s O’Connor-Brook, White took a 26-24 lead on a shot from the side of the key from Demchuk.
Black shrunk the lead to one on a free-throw from Siggy Grantham-Wearer before Demchuk sunk an insurance free-throw to put the score where it settled.
The Warriors White went undefeated at the championship. F.H. Collins, who was the favourite going into the tournament, split the Warriors team into two squads for the Yukon championship.
“That was the first time some of them played together – we just wanted everyone to play,” said Warriors White head coach Christine Kirk. “We tried to make them as even as possible. And every game we played was a one-point game or a two-point game, so it’s been good competition.”
Demchuk, who will play for Yukon in female basketball at the Arctic Winter Games next week, was named the championship’s MVP.
“That feels great,” she said. “All this hard work and practice and games, it’s great to have that at the end.”
The Porter Creek Rams, who won the junior division last year when it was a Grade 9/10 competition, took the bronze.
“Our Grade 8/9 girls this year is a really good group of girls,” said Kirk. “A lot of them have spent time playing, not just in the season, but they spent their own time playing basketball. And a lot of them played on the (Whitehorse) Lynx team.
“There are four of them on the Arctic (Winter Games) team too, so you can tell when you put in the time, you get good players.”
Jetta Bilsky (Crusaders)
Danica Nelson (Warriors)
Indica Stewart (Rams)
Sarah Diment (Warriors)
Jen Mendelson (Warriors)
Jayden Demchuk (Warriors)
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org