With ten minutes still remaining on the clock, the Haisla Senior Women’s basketball team were intent on closing their 10 point gap against their rivals in the finals, the Prince Rupert Thunder.
For the entire game, the final in the women’s division in the Kitamaat Basketball tournament, the women kept up pace yet couldn’t squeeze the points gap as the seconds wound down.
But as the team persevered the points gap grew narrower, and victory at least appeared possible.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Haisla girls stood victorious, squeaked into victory by a narrow one point margin, 56-55.
Women’s coach Mike Ridsdale said the team had a good mix of leadership and youthful energy, which combined to make for a good rotation of their bench, he said.
“In the final game, [Prince] Rupert started by shooting a high percentage,” he said through e-mail to the Sentinel. “Our game plan was to push the tempo, knowing with their short bench they would tire.”
He said their early points gap closed because their full court press was effective, and they started making shots they weren’t hitting earlier in the game.
“Overall the team worked well together resulting in our final win on Sunday,” added Ridsdale.
Several teammates received distinctions, including Adelia Paul who won the Cultural Spirit Award during the tournament.
The award, according to tournament organizers, was given to Paul for “making the Douglas College basketball team this year, blazing the trail for her teammates and the Haisla Jr. Girls, and overcoming obstacles to go to college.”
Ridsdale said that Paul receiving the award “is an example of perseverance and determination.”
“Leaving her community, family and friends to further her education and play college ball was a big step, one that she has successfully managed well in her first year,” he said.
The first place win means the Haisla Senior Girls team walks away with a $2,000 prize.
Other players of note on the team are Jennifer Nyce who was named a Ladies All Star, and Kailee Gardiner was named Ladies MVP.
On the men’s side, the Van City Untouchables placed first with an 82 over 72 point win against the Prince Rupert Lights Out.
The Haisla Braves placed fifth to the Gitsan Seniors in sixth.
The Haisla Orca Spirits also placed seventh, and the Haisla Jr. Boys took eighth.
Daniel Metz with the Haisla Braves was named a Men’s All Star in the tournament.
A $2,000 prize also went to first place in the men’s division.