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Coming out on top in local tournament

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The 2018 Pizza Place Invitational was held at the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School last Friday (Jan. 19) and Saturday (Jan. 20) as the Senior Girls and Boys teams took on competition from Winnipeg, Dauphin and The Pas.
GIRLS
The Tigers saw the end of the tournament in a championship match against their zone rivals, the Dauphin Clippers, Saturday afternoon. The Tigers, being two-time defending Pizza place Invitational Champions were hoping to take the title home once more and set the tone for upcoming zone playoff games.
The Tigers found themselves down by two as they headed into the second half at a score of 26-24 for the Clippers.
“The third period proved to be the transition period of the game,” said Head Coach Shayne Yaschyshyn. “The Tigers came out with renewed energy playing their brand of basketball.”
They were rewarded with the Pizza Place Invitational Championship for the third straight year with a final score 60-42.
Earlier Saturday saw the Tigers face off against the Westgate Wings from Winnipeg.
The score at half time saw the Tigers lead by 30 to 24.
The game found both teams scoring back and forth with the Tigers finishing the game with 67 points to the Wings 57 points.
The Tigers opened the tournament with the first game Friday against the Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute Spartans.
“The Tigers took control of the game right from the start and cruised to their first victory,” said Yaschyshyn.
The final score ended up 67-15.
“Overall the tournament went very well for all teams that participated,” he said. “Comments from the teams that participated were happy with the level of competition and the hospitality they received from local businesses.”
“Nerves got to us on Friday and definitely at the start of the Dauphin game,” added Assistant Coach Ian Kitch. “The girls deserve a lot of credit for fighting through those nerves and getting back to playing our game.”
Yaschyshyn noted that the team is getting a lot more comfortable and patient when they are in their offensive set up.
“This is allowing us to control the flow of the game and take the easy shots instead of forcing a bad shot,” said Yaschyshyn.
“We still need to gain some confidence in how we move the ball inside, but at the halfway point of the season we as coaches are very happy with what we are seeing right now.”
Next up is the Neelin Invitational Tournament in Brandon this weekend (Jan. 26 and 27) followed by the Swan Valley Credit Union Classic at the SVRSS on Feb. 2 and 3.
BOYS
The Tigers final game of the tournament was on Saturday night with their first match up of the season against the Dauphin Clippers.
“This was a bit of a grinding game where neither team was taking over,” said Head Coach Kevin Carter.
The Tigers were in the lead by 12 going into the second half of the game. “We struggled offensively to score with no luck from the three point line all game.”
They were able to grind out a victory of 66-57 for the championship.
The second game of the tournament took place early Saturday afternoon against the Westgate Wings from Winnipeg.
“They had a tough, overtime game against The Pas earlier in the day, but we came out flying and took advantage of their flat start early and often,” said Carter.
They maintained a 14 point lead at halftime and made a run early in the fourth quarter that was able to widen the gap and finish the game in their favour with a 84-49 victory.
The first game for the boys took place late Friday afternoon against MBCI from The Pas. The Tigers created a 13 point lead at the half and pulled away in the fourth quarter by picking up their defense and taking advantage of created turnovers. The final score was 72-42.
“It was a good tournament overall as all four teams on the boys side were relatively well matched and there were good games throughout the weekend,” said Carter. “As is always the case with coaches, there will always be things we can work on and we are not by any stretch short of things on that list; however, there are some good things happening that we can build on.”
The tournament ran well with all coaches and players chipping in to keep things running smoothly as well as a group of officials that did a good job throughout the weekend.
Their next action will be in joining the Girls team in Brandon at the Neelin Invitational Tournament on Jan. 26 and 27 where they will be playing The Pas, Neelin and Vincent Massey.
“All will be good tests for us to match up with the some good teams,” concluded Carter. “Including Neelin, who are first in AAA boys basketball and a team we would need to get through to qualify for provincials.”

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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