Metlakatla Crest defeats Nanaimo to win Women's division title
For the second straight year the Nanaimo Spirit faced off with the Metlakatla Crest in the finals of the All Native Basketball Tournament after losing to the Crest in the A bracket final and coming through the back door.
The familiar foes proved to once again be evenly matched in the early going as Metlakatla led by a single three pointer, 8-5, after five minutes. Neither team was able to pull away as the quarter progressed, but a buzzer-beating three from just past half court by Denise Wilson gave Metlakatla a 17-11 lead going into the second.
Nanaimo worked to chip away at that lead, but the Crest had an answer for everything and led 25-21 through five minutes of play. The Spirit had trouble getting much to drop in the later part if the quarter, which led to a 32-23 Metlakatla lead heading into the half.
Nanaimo's offence started to click in the third as they trailed 38-35 through five minutes and tied things up at 38 just seconds later. With 10 minutes left it was still anyone's game as Metlakatla held a slim 47-43 lead.
With such a close game and the championship on the line, the crowd became deafening with every basket, rebound and foul. Metlakatla held on to a 57-54 lead through five minutes, but the game was far from over. Nanaimo took their first lead of the game with 2:47 on the clock and with one minute remaining the score was 63-60 for the Spirit. A layup by Roberta Edzertza tied it up at 63 with 17.6 and she made good on a foul shot to give the Crest the lead. A collision with 8.5 seconds stopped the play and sent Nanaimo's number 23 to the line who went 0 for 2, but Nanaimo got the ball back on a toss up only for the Crest to create a turnover and claim their first championship in five years with a 64-63 victory.
Metlakatla's Judy Carlick-Pearson, who is a Prince Rupert city councillor, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Women's Division.