Good, not great All-Native

  • Feb. 18, 2011 10:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay–A sea of red flooded Facebook pages as fans of Haida basketball changed their profile pictures to the Haida flag in support of Skidegate and Massett teams. Pistol Pete Lantin, who covers the games for CFNR Classic Rock Radio, said the power of social media created added excitement for players and fans this year. For the teams, this was especially important. They know the fans are out there, but seeing it in such a visual way is a big boost, said Mr. Lantin. As well, the lack of streaming video made it harder for faraway fans to participate. Mr. Lantin said CFNR took note of the backlash from fans when the streaming (audio-free) video was pulled from the internet. When it was pulled 46 people were tuned in from Prince Rupert and hundreds from everywhere else. “But CFNR wanted to support the tournament,” he said. Overall the Haidas had a great tournament, said Mr. Lantin. “They exceeded expectations,” he said. “And there’s a lot of optimism going forward, something that has been lacking in the last couple of years.” In what seems to have become a tradition, the islands’ senior division teams, the Massett Raiders and the Skidegate Saints, end up on the same side of the draw and moved through this year’s games on a collision course, he said. “It’s kind of bittersweet,” he said, of the two islands teams facing each other. “But its always a good game.” Massett knocked Skidegate out of the running Feb. 11. Later that day Massett lost to Ahousat (80-89) and that was the end for Haida Gwaii in the senior division. “Of course, Hydaburg won,” said Mr. Lantin. “Their domination continues.” The heartbreak of the tournament was with the Massett Masters, said Mr. Lantin. He said the team looked great on paper, but hadn’t played in tournaments much. They lost their first game on day two to Bella Bella, which tossed them into the loser’s bracket. But they then began their march back. Kincolith, Kitkatla and Kitimaat fell in game after game with the Massett Masters. But on Feb.11, in a game against New Aiyansh that saw Massett with a nine point lead in the middle of the first quarter, all-star player Wilson Parnell got fouled hard and ended up with two cracked ribs. “The team deflated,” said Mr. Lantin. The excitement had been building for a run at the championship, but Massett ended up losing by three points (60-63). Bella Bella took the division. For Mr. Lantin, the story of the All-Native was Kitimaat’s triumph. They took both the Intermediate and the Women’s divisions. He said they’ve been building their program over the last three or four years, moving from low in the standings, to the championships. “Both teams could be around for a while,” he said. The teams remind him of the dynasty built in Skidegate around 2007, when they were winning intermediate championships too. This year Skidegate made it to the second last day of the tournament but lost to Friendship House (82-73). Massett followed their first game loss with a couple of wins, but were beaten by Vancouver (88-100) and out of the running on Day 4. Two Skidegate Intermediates made the All-Stars, Matt Gladstone (also named high scorer) and Cole Edinger. Wilson Parnell and David Hill were All-Stars in the Masters’ division and Tyler York and Chris Campbell (also named high scorer) were named All-Stars in the Massett Seniors.

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