The SVRSS Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball teams hosted the annual Pizza Place Classic last Friday (Jan. 20) and Saturday (Jan. 21) at the SVRSS. Teams came from Dauphin, Westgate, Roblin, and Norquay to participate in the tournament.
Set up as a four team round-robin, the final game scheduled served as the final for the tournament.
“Overall we had a very successful weekend,” said Head Coach Shayne Yaschyshyn. “The girls played very well and we won all three of our games giving us the tournament championship.
“In our last game we came up against our rival, the Dauphin Clippers. This game determined the tournament champions as Dauphin had also won both of their games. The Tigers were fired up to play the Clippers and came out strong in the first half building a 36 to 12 lead by halftime. In the end the Tigers beat the clippers with a 63-32 final score.
In the second game of the tournament, on Saturday morning, the Tigers faced the Westgate Wings from Winnipeg.
“Our nerves got to us in this game and we started out sluggish and allowed Westgate to have a four point lead after one quarter,” said Yaschyshyn.
“In the second half we picked up our game with about four minutes left in the half and from that point we never looked back.”
The teams perseverance paid off with a 56-35 victory.
In their first game on Friday the Tigers played the Norquay Nikes.
“We came out strong and got an early lead by 10 in the first quarter and never looked back,” Yaschyshyn said.
“After the slow start last week in the first game, and the lessons learned from that, we were motivated to come out with strong play from the start to the end of every game. In the end we came out with a 61-22 victory, but more importantly we came out with a strong team game with everyone contributing to the score as well as the defensive play.”
Yaschyshyn is proud of the team and how hard they have worked.
“The Tigers continue to grow and play a strong team game,” he said. “Every player is contributing in each game. Our defensive play is really strong which allows for our offensive game to work.”
Despite their success, the team continues to work hard to improve.
“We still have a significant amount of work to do on some aspects of our game,” said Yaschyshyn. “But, we are getting better and stronger every time we play.
“One positive is that we never give up, even if we have a slow start, we continue to battle and get ourselves into a position to win the game.
Although they did not get the end result they wanted, the boys’ team still walked away from the weekend with a 2-1 record.
In the final game of the weekend, both the SVRSS Tigers and Dauphin Clippers went in 2-0 records.
“Unfortunately for the home squad, things did not start off well and we struggled the entire game,” said Head Coach Kevin Carter.
“We got off to a slow start offensively and found ourselves down 22-11 after the first quarter. The second quarter was a repeat of the first and we had dug ourselves a 20 point hold by halftime with the score 42-22.
“We came out in the third quarter with the thought to work harder, play more aggressively and to change our focus on the offensive end to attack the defense and get to the rim rather than settling for outside shots,” continued Carter. “Our shooting percentage was not good and we needed to do something differently to get on track.
“We came out with that in mind in the first couple of minutes, scored a couple of buckets and got a couple of stops on the defensive end, but fell into the habits that weren't working in the first half and did not sustain that approach. Things continued that way and we were handed an 80-44 defeat.”
Earlier that day, the Tigers took on the Westgate Wings.
“This was a tight contest through the early part of the game with Westgate holding a one point lead after the first quarter and a six point lead at the half (35-29),” said Carter.
“The second half was a different story as we were able to pick up our half court defense and pick up production on the offensive end. We took the lead by one at the end of the third quarter with a score of 49-48 and extended that to a final score of 77-63.
“This was a good game for us as we had contributions from many players and the production came from many players across the board both defensively and offensively,” carter continued.
The team started the tournament on Friday afternoon against the Roblin Raiders.
“This was our first game played since mid-December,” said Carter. “We expected it to be a bit of a scramble and it lived up to that expectation.
“We did some good things at times and had a lead of 40-12 at the half. We had a stretch of seven and a half minutes in the third quarter where we couldn't score, but the lead we had opened up at the half was not in jeopardy as we held steady on the defensive end.”
The game ended with a final score of 60-24.
“It was a good game to knock some of the rust off and we were hopeful that we would play more efficiently the remainder of the weekend coming off of that win,” said Carter.
“Overall, it was good to get back to playing again as we have had nine to 10 practice dates since our last game. But, we are a young team with not a lot of experience at the AAA level and we have a lot of work to do as we go forward.
“There is a lot of learning that is occurring and the opportunities for improvement definitely presented themselves on Saturday evening in our game against Dauphin,” Carter continued. “If we have aspirations of being in the mix to qualify for provincials down the stretch, we need to put the work in to put us in the position.”
Both of the SVRSS Tigers teams will be facing a challenging weekend in Brandon where they will travel to participate in the Neelin Invitational Tournament on Friday (Jan. 27) and Saturday (Jan. 28), seeing them play Crocus Plains, Vincent Massey and the hosts throughout the weekend.
“All three will be tough tests with Crocus Plains and Vincent Massey playing at the AAAA level and Neelin being a top 5 seeded team provincially in the AAA category as well as a team we would have to play through the provincial qualifying process,” said Carter. “We will have our work cut out for us.”