Story and photo by Roberta Aiken–Spanning over 5 days and totaling 30 basketball games, Old Massett hosted its 35th Annual Christmas Classic. With 14 teams in the Men’s Division and 3 teams in the Women’s, the tournament was sure to see some more-than-close games and a gym filled with fans.
In the final games in both divisions, the match-ups were right to the wire and then some.
In the Women’s final, the Haida Spirits and the Cougars in Training saw both Abby Mendez of the C.I.T and Latasha Brown of the Spirits dominating the court for their teams. Early on, it was primarily the Haida Spirits holding a small lead but the loss of Gwen was sure to see the C.I.T. take advantage. With a tie game and the clock winding down, Abby was sure to pull off another game winning basket, taking the win of only 2 points and the final score 36 – 34 for the Cougars in training.
Womens Division awards :
Champions – Cougars in training
2nd place – Haida Spirits
Ethel Jones Memorial Most Valuable Player – Abby Mendez -CIT
Most Inspiriational – Latasha Brown – Haida Spirits
Best Defensive – Latasha Brown – Haida Spirits
6th player – Alysha Mattis – Haida Spirits
Most Sportsmanlike – Savannah Sammuels -CIT
Women’s All Stars: Belinda Humphries, Gwen Edgars, Abby Mendez and Carlisa Russ
The Men’s final saw Haida Bucks vs the Skidegate Intermediate Saints. Having to come through lower bracket, the Bucks had to battle it out and found themselves once again facing Skidegate. I was convinced the Haida Bucks were sure to keep the score closer than their previous loss and rest assured they more than did that and had the crowd on their feet more than once in this battle of excellent players.
For the Haida Bucks, as usual dominant were Trevor Russ and Chris Campbell. The greatest point spread was 8 points. It was truly a battle for both teams. With Duane Alsop dominating both with his offence and defence. And Chris Campbell is a force that one should not mess with! He had his utmost best game, when the clock had only 4 seconds left, and Skidegate was ahead by 3 points. Willis Parnell fed the ball to Chris Campbell and the perfect half court shot was in the air with a true “buzz beater” dancing through the net to tie the game and head into overtime.
In the bleachers, it was pandemonium and the game was set to go on for another 5 minutes. In foul trouble, first Chris Campbell, then Trevor Russ and finally Duane Alsop all fouled out. The game was still to the wire, but ended with Tyler catching a piece of Willis’s game-winning 3 point attempt and the final score 81 – 79 for the Saints over the Bucks.
Men’s division awards:
Champions – Skidegate Intermediate Saints
2nd place – Haida Bucks
3rd place – 100% Hustle
Most Valuable Player – Duane Alsop – Saints
Most Inspirational – Willis Parnell – Haida Bucks
Best Defensive – Trevor Russ – Haida Bucks
6th Man – Harold Parnell – Stallions
George Jones Memorial Most Sportsmanlike Player – Matt Gladstone – Skidegate
Sportsmanlike team – Have Fun
Most promising player – Cooper Wilson – Junior Warriors
All Stars – Aaron Hans, Chris Haines, Stan Swanson, Greg Brown, Tyler Yorke, Chris Campbell, Darcy Pearson, Roger Harris-Smith
The tournament’s a lot of work. I tip my hat to Shirley, Dwight, John, John T, Tammy and the entire committee and volunteers. Job well done and I always admire how you all show so much respect to ones that have passed from our villages.
This year the Classic Committee donated $1000 to the Elders trip to the annual Elders Conference. Way to go Classic Committee and see you all next year.
Next tournament is this weekend January 4 – 6th the 7 Annual Clan Tournament in Skidegate. With already a team from Hydaburg, Alaska coming in. Come on and support your clan.