Coach Dëneze Nakehk’o recounts his teams exciting trip to the Wolfpack Invitational Basketball Tournament in Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson) NWT, February 7-9, 2014.
The Mildred Hall School Eagles Boys Basketball Team
- Keaton, Grade 5
- Jordan, Grade 6
- Konrad, Grade 7
- Matthew, Grade 7
- K'a, Grade 8
- Jonathon, Grade 8
- Willem, Grade 8
2 wins - 2 losses
The MHS Eagles Boys Basketball team played in the Junior Boys Division of the Wolfpack Invitational Basketball Tournament. There were 3 teams in our division, the Thomas Simpson School Junior Boys Team (TSSJB) and the Thomas Simpson School High School Girls Team (TSSHSG).
Pool play started on Friday evening with our first game against the TSSJB, we lost. Our next game later that evening was against the TSSHSG, which we also lost. Our boys were a little down, reality sunk in and they understood that in order to win they would have to play as a team and focus more on defense and rebounding.
Before our next games we had a morning practice on Saturday to modify our offensive strategies and focused more on defense and rebounding. The Semi-Final game took place Saturday afternoon against the 2nd and 3rd place teams in our division. The TSSJB beat us and lost to the TSSHSG, so they were 2nd. We lost both our games to we were 3rd in our division.
The TSSJG had an exceptionally talented player, Warren Cli, Grade 5. He carved us up and got Keaton fouled out of our first meeting. This time we were prepared. Keaton and K'a took turns in defending Warren. Willem, Jonathon, Konrad and Matthew seemed to grab every rebound and defend our own basket very well.
Jordan, K'a and Keaton hit some open outside shots and converted layups on fast breaks from steals and long rebounds. We ending up winning the game by 10 points and punched our ticket to a finals showdown with the Thomas Simpson High School Sr. Girls team.
We were able to carry over our momentum from the semi's into the Finals. We jumped out to an early lead against the Girls.
K'a played exceptional defense on the Girls team's best player. He denied her the ball so she wasn't able to get it, which knocked the team out of their system. On top of that our team was coming into form and understanding our system and utilized opportunities to pass and score.
Our big players defended our hoop well and rebounded the ball even better. But near the end of the game, I'm not sure if we let up or the Girls really stepped up their game, probably a combination of both, the Girls team came back and whittled down our lead. With 0:30 seconds left they cut our lead to 2, we were up 31 to 29. After a missed Girls shot and a fight for the rebound our boys fouled the Girls with 1.7 seconds left, she had 2 free throws. She missed her first and made her second, 31-30. Willem inbounded the ball to K'a and we held it for the win. Gold Medals all around!
Keaton got MVP of the Junior Division
K'a got the Sportsmanship Award
Willem got the Officials Award, given by the referees for the most respectful player
Good job all around. I'm proud of the boys and their accomplishment.
Special thanks to Nick, Director of Player Development for Basketball NWT and Coach of the Boys High Performance Basketball Team and the Arctic Winter Games Team NWT Boys Team. Nick was able to drive 4 of our player to Liidlii Kue and back to Yellowknife. He also helped out in providing some of our players some tips and encouragement.
Also thanks to my Mother, Celine Antoine, for providing our team with dinner on Friday and Saturday night.
Thanks to Ryan Nichols for sticking his neck out for me and going to bat for us to help us travel to the tournament. And a big thanks to the school for support and encouragement.
On to the Cager!