Teams hopeful as All Native ready to roll

  • Feb. 12, 2010 5:00 a.m.

By Alex Rawlings–The All Native Basketball Tournament in Rupert gets under way this weekend with Haida Gwaii teams hopeful that they will come home with the championship. “It has been an up and down year for the team, but hopefully we are up when we go,” said veteran guard for the Massett Masters, David Hill. Mr. Hill has played at the tournament for 23 years, with his most memorable year coming in 1991 when his team came back to the islands with the intermediate championship after losing their first game and battling back to win seven games over the remaining days of the tournament. “It was a blur,” he said, “I believe we were the first team to do that, lose the first game and rally back from the bottom to win the championship.” Former Massett coach Arnie Bellis said that while he is not coaching, he will be attending the tournament. “The teams look pretty good this year,” said Mr. Bellis. “(The teams) should play hard, be good sports, and be good ambassadors.” Long time Skidegate player Jason Alsop is also looking forward to the tournament and said that this year should be a good one for the Skidegate Senior Saints. “We’ll do well; better than last year I think. We have two new guards up from the intermediate level, and we are all healthy,” he said. “It will be good, the tournament is looking really even so it will ultimately come down to match-ups.” Skidegate masters player Eddie Russ said the teams have a good chance of brining home the championship this year.”We are very hopeful, especially for the intermediate and senior teams this year, we are always a strong team,” he said, explaining that the last time they brought home the championship was in 2000 when the islands swept the tournament with Skidegate intermediates, and seniors cleaning up their divisions and the Massett masters bringing home the championship-the only team to break Hydaburg’s decade- long winning streak.”We wish all island teams the very best in this year’s tournament, we all work so hard towards it. It is a tournament that brings the standard of basketball up to Olympic standards around here,” he said.It was looking like the Massett Masters would not be going but coach Steve Samuels said they are making every effort to get there and will be practising together in the next few days.”We are pretty excited to go, we have to go,” he said,” we are going to make every effort to get their and do our best.”The tournament begins on Sunday when the Massett masters face off against Canyon City.