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Senior Basketball teams ramping up near end of season

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Both the SVRSS Tigers Senior Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams were back in tournament action last weekend as they prepare for zones happening later this month.
Girls
The Senior girls played host to the Swan Valley Credit Union (SVCU) Classic Tournament where they hosted seven teams – Thompson, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Norway House Cree Nation, Cross Lake First Nation, Neepawa, Gilbert Plains and Yorkton – on to their home court to battle for the banner.
In the final game of the tournament, the girls faced the powerful RD Parker Trojans from Thompson in a repeat of the 2018 SVCU Classic final.
“Both teams came ready to play,” said coach Shayne Yaschyshyn.
The home-town team had a large crowd on their feet when they opened up the scoring in their first possession. The better prepared Trojans, along with some untimely Tigers’ fouls gave Thompson a 19 point lead by the end of the opening quarter however. Although they tried to fight back in the second, the relentless press and tight zone defense applied by the Trojans didn’t give them enough space to execute their game. That left the Tigers down 34 points at half-time.
The Tigers regrouped in the third quarter and were able to shut down the Trojans scoring – allowing only six points while scoring 23 of their own to close the gap.
“We couldn’t sustain the same level of play in the fourth and the Trojans added to their lead,” said Yaschyshyn.
The result was a lopsided 79-39 championship victory for the visiting Trojans.
“It was a good game for us to gain the experience and get back into playing at that higher level needed to be one of the top ten teams in the province,” said Yaschyshyn. “We only played five games in January where other teams most likely have played nine to 12, so we needed to get back into the level of play that we were showing. The way we played in the third quarter showed how we can play, we just need to sustain that for at least three, preferably four quarters.”
Previously, the girls were up against the Oscar Lathlin Wolverines where they found themselves down by a score of 10-6 early in the game.
Waking up a little, the Tigers pushed back and were able to take a 14-10 lead going into the second quarter.
“We continued to control the flow of the game but the Wolverines all star shooter made some key three point shots to keep them in the game,” said Yaschyshyn.
The back and forth play continued with the Tigers building their lead slightly in the third quarter but the Wolverines continued to push back at every opportunity. The Tigers held on to the lead and walked away with a 63-47 victory at the final buzzer.
“We knew going into this game that the Wolverines would be a tough defensive team even though they came with only six players,” said coach Ian Kitch.
“Every year their program has developed a strong defensive game that doesn’t allow anything easy inside the paint, this year is no different.”
Opening up the tournament against the Neepawa Tigers, the home Tigers weren’t about to let the visitors walk away victorious in the first game they’d faced one another this season.
Applying relentless pressure, the home-town team was able to mount an impressive 36-4 lead going into the second half of the game. They continued that into the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the girls pulled back their pressure and sailed to a comfortable 67-23 victory.
“We hadn’t had the opportunity to see Neepawa all season so now we have an idea of the level of competition from Dauphin and Neepawa,” said Manager Lynda Malkoske. “We haven’t had the chance to see Virden yet but from what has occurred at other tournaments Virden appears to be very similar to Neepawa.”
“We know now what level of compete we need and how we need to play to meet our goals for the season,” added Yaschyshyn. “I am confident we are still building and developing as a team which should work out that we peak in time for provincials.”
Next, the team heads north to Thompson where they’ll participate in the RD Parker Trojan South Come North Tournament this weekend (Feb. 14-16). The tournament includes teams from Thompson, Lorette, Sanford, Stonewall and the University of Winnipeg Collegiate.
“This should be good preparation for the interzone tournament,” said Yaschyshyn.
The interzones will be held at the SVRSS on Feb. 29 to determine the remainder of the season for the girls and boys.
Boys
After a two week hiatus, the SVRSS Senior boys’ basketball team participated in the 2020 Mac Attack, held at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate in Winnipeg. The Tigers made it to the consolation final facing the Sanford Sabres.
Getting off to a great start, the Tigers jumped out to a 13-2 lead early in the first quarter but were unable to maintain that advantage throughout the game, and the Sabres erased the deficit by the middle of the third quarter and the teams found themselves tied at 48 with seven minutes to play.
The Tigers were only able to score another four points in that time while Sanford dropped in a dozen points resulting in a 60-52 Tigers loss.
Previously, the team found success when they met up with the host Nelson McIntyre.
“We played them early in January at a tournament in Sanford and had a good game with them but struggled late in that game eventually ending up with a loss,” said coach Kevin Carter. “The tale was different this time.”
A more experienced and disciplined effort benefited the Tigers on this day. After taking a nine point lead into the second half, the Tigers cruised to a 58-46 victory. Bryce Muller lead all scorers with 22 points.
Opening the weekend, the Tigers faced the MBCI Spartans.
“We hung with them for the first six-to-eight minutes of the game before their speed, skill and defence caused significant issues for us,” said Carter.
The Spartans went on a 20-0 run from late in the first quarter until the middle of the second which put the Tigers on their heels for the remainder of the game.
“They’re a very good team, currently ranked second in AA basketball and they showed their level of play all weekend eventually winning the tournament and beating the #1 ranked AAA boys team along the way,” said Carter. “They were too much for us at this point in our development.”
The final score was 70-36 in favour of the Spartans.
“We did have some positive momentum building through January, but with the exam break upon us at this time of the year, maintaining that momentum can be tough as we hadn’t played for close to three weeks,” added Carter. “We’re hoping that getting back into it this past weekend will set us up for a good week of practice leading into the St. Norbert tournament this weekend.”
The boys will attend the tournament on Feb. 14 and 15 in hopes of regaining their earlier form.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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