The 52nd All Native Basketball Tournament has come and gone for 2011.
Teams from the Northwest as well as Alaska, Vancouver and the Interior travelled to participate in the annual week long tournament that hosts three men’s divisions: Intermediate, Senior and Masters as well as the Senior Women’s division.
In the Intermediate division with a draw of 14 teams, the Haisla Pride basketball team, coached by Mike Ridsdale, represented the village of Kitamaat with a team of 9 players: Brett Amos, Kyle Amos, Donovan Bolton, Morgan Grant, Darren Metz, Daniel Metz, Quinton Nyce, Jeremy Nyce and Nick Wilson.
With guidance from their coach and a steady rotation of players on a bench that was well run, the team remained in the winner’s bracket playing a total of five games during the week long tournament:
Haisla Pride beat Kitkatla 75-52 in their opener, going on to win 94-52 over Bella Bella (52), 74-57 over Prince Rupert Friendship House and 66-58 over Vancouver North Shore.
With the thunderous chanting and support of the Haisla fans, all wearing blue, the team advanced to the finals where they met up with the defending champions, the Prince Rupert Friendship House, for a second time.
The adrenaline was running high in the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre with both teams vying for the coveted title of “2011 All Native Basketball Champions”.
The game was tight with only a two to three point difference until the fourth quarter when Haisla Pride pulled away to earn the team the championship title by a 76-63 margin.
As the final buzzer went, the gym floor was rushed by fans chanting “Haisla! Haisla! Haisla!” Proud parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were among the sea of blue hugging the players and coach, congratulating them.
1982 marked the last ANBT Championship title for a Haisla Intermediate team.
In the trophy presentations Haisla Pride player Darren Metz received the Mr. Hustle award as well as being named an All Star.
Quinton Nyce received the Best Defensive award as well as being named an All Star, Kyle Amos received the 6th Man award and Daniel Metz received the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award.
The 2011 All Native Basketball Tournament marked the fourth tournament of the season where the Haisla Pride team placed first.
Go Haisla Go!