The reasons why the F.H. Collins Warriors were undefeated in the Super Hoops season were evident in the finals of the Yukon Basketball Championships final on Tuesday at F.H. Collins Secondary.
The Warriors were never trailing as they cruised to a 67-35 win over the Vanier Crusaders in the senior girls championships game.
“I think we played well,” said Warriors All-Star Nicole Bendera. “We work well together. We’ve been together for a while. We played volleyball together so we all know each other. I think it helps that we’re all really good friends.”
The Warriors ended the first quarter up 22-6 after producing more turnovers than a pastry shop in apple season. Bendera drained back-to-back field goals from just inside the arc to make it 18-6.
The F.H. Collins team controlled the boards throughout the game, especially offensively, sometimes getting two or three rebounds in the Crusader end.
“It was disappointing, but that’s OK, that’s a tough team. They have some great offensive players on there,” said Crusaders head coach Ed Frison.
Warriors’ Markie May Bailie was the game’s high-scorer with 19 points while Bendera had 17 and season MVP Jennifer Curtis had 15.
Captain Nesha Wright really pulled the team together, said Bendera.
“I don’t think we could have done it without her. We could have played well, it just wouldn’t have been the same,” said Bendera. “She can drive, she can shoot, pass. She keeps us all together. She’s the only who talks.”
Crusaders captain Robin Fortune led her team with 14 points. Teammate Sabrina Clarke put eight points on the board and Antonia Lafferty six.
The Warriors will have quite a different bench come next season. In addition to losing all but two players to graduation, head coach Ann Jirousek is leaving for a year after about seven seasons behind the bench.
“It was really fun. It was a good team,” said Wright. “We work really well together – it’s a team, it’s not just one player.
“We had a really good coach – that helps. She knows her stuff.”
“The junior girls moving up are fantastic so when I come back, maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to coach the senior girls again,” said Jirousek.
To reach the final, the Crusaders defeated the Porter Creek Rams 38-34 in Monday’s semifinal.
“It was a tough game all around,” said Frison. “It was a rough-and-tumble kind of game.
“It was back and forth and at the end of the game we were the ones that managed to be up.”
The Warriors played only four Super Hoops regular season games and there was no Super Hoop championship this year to make time for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. Some scheduled games were cancelled due to extreme weather.
Robyn Fortune (VCSS)
Vierle Viernes (VCSS)
Nesha Wright (FHC)
Nicole Bendera (FHC)
Amanda Mervyn (PCSS)
MVP Jennifer Curtis (FHC)
Contact Tom Patrick at