Hydaburg triumphant again

  • Feb. 24, 2010 5:00 p.m.

The Haidas took the senior division of the All-Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert, but the team wasn’t from Haida Gwaii. Hydaburg, Alaska ended up as champions for the second year in a row with a strong team pulled together in the last days before the tournament began on Feb. 14. They played Bella Bella in an exciting final game on Saturday night (Feb. 20) that saw the Haida team push past a slim lead during the final frame to a 100-90 victory. Devin Edenshaw was named Most Valuable Player for the second straight year and several other players were named to the All-Star team. Hydaburg’s coach Matt Carle Sr. was put in the All-Native Tournament Hall of Fame. The Skidegate Seniors were knocked out of the competition with an upset loss to North Shore on Thursday (Feb. 18). After losing their first game to Vancouver on day two, they rebounded back with a 104-51 win against Klemtu on Feb. 16. Wednesday’s (Feb. 17) game against Friendship House went to Skidegate as well (71-60), leading the Saints to the closer to the finals. Then in overtime with the North Shore team, the Skidegate squad lost their chance at the championship, 93-90. They ended up in seventh place. Desi Collinson of the Saints said they had to scramble a bit to get players for the tournament, but he praised the team’s rookies Darcy Pearson and Michael Gladstone who played very well. He says they’re going to try and play more tournaments this year. A team can practise all it wants, but in the end “it depends on the number of games you’ve played as a team,” he says. The Masset Seniors got farther into the tournament than Skidegate, winning three games before their defeat on Saturday afternoon. Their first game on day two was a loss to Bella Bella, but the next day they took on the Nisga’a of Greenville with a 66-58 win. Then on Wednesday they beat Kitimaat 85-66. On Thursday, they played Lax Kw’alaams and won 76- 61, but the crushing blow was when Bella Bella creamed them 87 to 60 in the semi-finals on Saturday. The Skidegate Intermediates were disappointed as well. Nineteen year-old player Matt Gladstone said they had a good team, but they couldn’t get the shots to go down. “We had one of the best teams over there and we blew it,” he said. After winning their first game against Kincolith by nearly 40 points, Mr. Gladstone says they lost the second round with Lax Kw’alaams due to what he thought was questionable refereeing and undue foul calls on the Skidegate team. Then in their third game against Cowichan they blew their 15-point lead after half time and lost by three points (59-56). The Prince Rupert Friendship House Intermediate (21 and under) team took the tournament undefeated. The Skidegate team finished seventh. Mr. Gladstone says the team, which was coached by Duane Alsop, will be back next year. The Skidegate Masters (over 35) ended up out of the tournament before it began. Player Eddie Russ and his brother Frank went on to play for Massett instead. He said the Skidegate team didn’t end up with the eight players needed on the court. “The team we had registered was capable of winning,” he said of the Skidegate Saints. He says they were lucky to have Garner Moody as their coach and the Masters intend to play in the All-Native next year. The Masset Masters came on strong in their first game beating Kitkatla 60-37, but they lost their next two games in the same day (Feb. 17) – to New Ainanysh (57-44) and Prince Rupert (79-41).