The Yukon men’s basketball team posted their first of what they hope will be many wins of the season on Saturday.
The team that will represent Yukon at the upcoming Arctic Winter Games had one win and two losses at the Augustana Invitational Basketball Tournament in Camrose, Alta., at the University of Alberta Augustana campus last week.
Their three games, all of which were against Alberta high school teams, were their first together as a team.
“There are a lot of things we can improve on, get better at doing and correct, but at the same time we’re taking away some positives and it was good to get these games under our belt,” said Yukon head coach Tim Brady.
Yukon finished the tournament with their win to place third out of the four teams. They held on to a pocket-size lead in the fourth quarter to beat Camrose Composite High School 67-64.
“It was a hard-fought game, a contested game all the way through,” said Brady. “We shot the ball a little bit better and played a little bit better, so we were glad to get a win and end the tournament in this way.”
Yukon opened the tournament with an 89-86 loss to the R.F. Staples Secondary School team from Westlock.
The Yukon squad almost pulled off a substantial comeback, having started the fourth quarter down by 20 points. They missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.
“It was a really good comeback for these guys, to play from behind and really put a good effort in, and almost catching this team at the end,” said Brady.
Yukon then fell 89-46 to Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School from Sherwood Park. The Jordan team went undefeated en route to winning the tournament.
“We had the kind of game where we just couldn’t buy a basket,” said Brady. “We were really cold and missing shots. We fell behind early and just could not get it done.
“If we could shoot a decent percentage, we would have been in that ball game. I think we made them work the whole game, but we dug a hole for ourselves with our shooting. We couldn’t seem to score.”
Yukon guard RJ Siosan led his team with 70 points in Camrose, including a 31-point performance against R.F. Staples.
Fellow guard Bryan Hermosa was second in points with 30 in the tournament opener on his way to 60 in total.
In addition to the tournament games, the Yukon team participated in clinics hosted by the men’s university team every morning on the trip.
“Our challenge right now is becoming more sure when we’re in possession of the ball, working to get a good shot every time, and not trying to make the perfect pass or passes that are high-risk,” said Brady. “That’s part of learning. Part of it is just the age group that we have.”
The 2014 Arctic Winter Games this March in Fairbanks, Alaska, will mark Brady’s eighth time coaching at the Games. He was head coach for the gold-winning team in 2012 and for Yukon’s first-ever gold-winning men’s team in 2000.
Both Yukon basketball teams – men’s and women’s – won gold at the 2012 Arctic Games in Whitehorse.
The men’s team includes returners Hermosa and Chris Carino, who was absent from last week’s tournament.
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