By Roberta Aiken–This is the time of year all teams are hard at their conditioning and preparations for the All Native Basketball Tournament.
Lat weekend, the Skidegate Senior Saints hosted the “Saints Invitational”.
This year’s tournament drew five teams: Skidegate Junior Saints, Masset Intermediates, Skidegate Senior Saints, Skidegate Intermediate Saints and the Skidegate Masters Saints. I am sure we would have seen a few more teams from Masset however a lot of teams do not have all their players here on island due to post secondary schooling.
Taking us into the action, the Skidegate Intermediates started out strong on Thursday night by beating the Skidegate Masters. Although the Skidegate Intermediate team has about half of its roster in the Vancouver area, coached by Dan Burton they were still able to establish their spot in the final by beating the Skidegate Seniors by 6 points on Friday evening. That sent the Skidegate Seniors to a semi final draw against the Skidegate Masters Saturday. Having to play before this match-up, the Masters were already warmed up and ready. It was close to the half time break and yet the Masters with were able to take control of the ball to take them to a final of 10 points over the Skidegate Seniors.
The lower-bracket battle is always tough and the Skidegate Masters were looking fine, considering they were heading into their third game in one day. The Masters put on solid offensive plays and big defense giving them an early lead on the Skidegate Intermediates. The Masters are often referred to at the All Native as being very “tenacious”. Now that’s the truth, as Russel lead the way for the team with 22 points, taking the team to win the bragging rights to this years Saints Invitational.
Congrats to all teams participating and a big Haaw’aa to all who come out to support this tournament from the Skidegate Seniors Basketball Team.
Next week, all teams will be departing on Saturday February 10 to the All Native in Rupert. Watch in the next paper, as I will have my pre-tournament article along with a posting of all the Haida teams’ first games and which games will be broadcast on CFNR.
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