The undefeated Skidegate Saints looked to make it three straight Seniors Division championships as they tipped off against Ahousaht in the final game of the 55th Annual All Native Basketball Tournament.
The Saints stifling defense kept Ahousaht to a single basket through five minutes of the first quarter while on the other side of the court they put away nine points for a strong early lead to the delight of the pro-Skidegate crowd. By the time the buzzer sounded to end the first, despite back-to-back three pointers by Greg Charlie, the Saints retained a 19-10 lead.
In the second the Suns began chipping away at that lead and were only down five, 25-20, through five minutes. Going into halftime, Skidegate held on to a slight lead with the score 36-29.
The early part of the third saw Ahousaht begin to gain momentum and trail by a single point, 40-39, through five minutes of play. But just as Ahousaht took momentum in the early part of the quarter, the Saints took it back and reestablished a nine point lead. With one quarter to play the score was 53-49 for the Saints, ensuring an exciting finish for the fans packed into the Russell Gamble Gymnasium.
Ahousaht tied things up less than a minute into the final frame but with five minutes to play the Saints were up 61-57. The Suns were persistent in the last going, trailing 69-63 with one minute to play, but the defending champs would prove to be too much as they took their third straight title 72-70.
For the third year in a row, Skidegate’s Desi Collinson was named the Senior Division Most Valuable Player.