It was a battle of intermediate titans as the Skidegate Saints squared off against the Prince Rupert Bad Boyz. Heading into the game Prince Rupert was looking for revenge, it was the Saints who had dismantled them in the third round, forcing them to fight through the losers bracket for a shot at redemption.
Unfortunately for the Bad Boyz, the final finished with the same result as the third round, a Skidegate victory, the Saints taking this one by a final of 85-83.
The first quarter was dominated by Skidegate who owned the point and seemed to drain shots at will. The man owning the paint was forward Jesse Barnes, the Skidegate giant’s imposing 6’6 frame clogged up the middle on both ends of the floor and stifled the Prince Rupert’s drives time after time, coming up with big blocks on one end and put-back slams on the other.
Barnes, who was the leader of the team on the back end knows the old adage that defence wins championships.
“Our mindset coming in was that the only way we would be able to win this tournament was if we focused on the defensive end because we have enough talent up front for the offence to come naturally,” Barnes said.
Skidegate had built it’s lead and was stymieing every Prince Rupert attempt at a comeback.
That was until the second quarter when Prince Rupert guard and Most Inspirational Player of the tournament, Perry Terrell took the game into his hands. The guard seemed to will his team back into contention, cutting to the hoop left, right and centre drawing contact and finishing up, over and around the Saints towering last line of defence.
Terrell and his eight second-quarter points brought the team to within 13 at the break.
Coming out of the half it was all Skidegate again, widening their lead to nearly twenty points by the time the quarter came to a close.
That’s when something terrible happened, a standout player and key part in the Saints offence, Trafton Williams landed awkwardly after a drive to the hoop and significantly injured his knee, ending his tournament prematurely.
Prince Rupert was able to capitalize on this unfortunate injury and took over the game in Williams’ absence, going on a 15-3 run to tie the game around halfway through the fourth.
But that is when they ran out of steam and Barnes took over the game, dropping eight of his team’s final 17 points to clinch the victory.
Barnes credit’s his team’s chemistry and work ethic for the victory.
“I have so many talented players on my team, me and Trafton are in the gym constantly and I love playing with Tyler, he’s such a talented ball handler, and I think we play really well,” Barnes said.
As for next year, Barnes is moving up to the senior’s division and he has one thing on his mind.
“I’m going to be a senior next year, so Kitkatla, we are coming for you.”
FINAL SCORE: 85-83
MVP: Jesse Barnes
Prince Rupert: Perry Terrell (24), Jakob Henry (17), Kaine Wesley (12)
Skidegate: Jesse Barnes (34), Kostan Levirs (14), Devan Boyko (12)
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