Josh Dennis (Prince Rupert) drives the ball up the floor during Fridays game against Massett (Nicholas Laws / The Northern View)

Josh Dennis (Prince Rupert) drives the ball up the floor during Fridays game against Massett (Nicholas Laws / The Northern View)

All Native Basketball Tournament Day of Champions Preview

Looking ahead to the championship matches of the All Native Tournament

This is it. The 60th All Native Tournament is coming to a close. After a thrilling six days of basketball, the tournament is coming to an end. The favourites have firmly planted themselves in positions of strength, while the underdogs will look to shock the world. There has been no shortage of great games, and great storylines throughout the tournament’s diamond anniversary. All of the day’s games will be played in the main gym.

RELATED: Lax Kw’alaams’ powerful performance at 60th All Native tournament

Full Schedule and breakdown below:

Women’s Championship

Kitamaat VS. Similkameen. 1 p.m.

The defending champions Kitamaat will look to knock off the surging Similkameen Starbirds. This is a classic match of David Vs. Goliath. Coming into the tournament as favourites, the girls from Haisla Nation have successfully fought back to the finals for the second straight year, not losing as game throughout the week. While on the other side of the ball, the Starbirds have been through the gauntlet, but appear to be getting stronger as the tournament goes along. The Starbirds after losing in the second round to Prince Rupert scratched and clawed their way through the losers bracket winning six straight games in the process, including getting revenge on Prince Rupert in the semifinals Friday. Kitamaat has had an easier path to the finals, only having played four games and having an extra day of rest following their tightly-contested victory over Prince Rupert Thursday night. The women’s final is set to be a good one, either the underdog story of the tournament will go down in history or the girls from Kitamaat will become back-to-back champions.

Master’s Championship

Lax Kw’alaams VS. Hydaburg 2:30 p.m.

Two titans come head to head in the master’s division final. The five-time defending champion Hydaburg will look to avenge their second-round loss to the Hoyas. After their tough battle in the second round, the teams took very different paths to the final. Lax Kw’alaams strolling through crushing Prince Rupert and Bella Bella, en route to a finals appearance, led by the strong play of guard George Kelly. While the Warriors were put through the gauntlet, getting better with every game, they eliminated, New Aiyansh, Skidegate, Prince Rupert, Hazelton, and Bella Bella on their path to a chance for revenge. The tilt of the Titans will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Intermediate Semi-Finals

Bella Bella VS. Prince Rupert 9 a.m.

Intermediate Championship

Skidegate VS. TBD * 6 p.m.

Skidegate have looked dominant throughout the tournament, scoring depth one through five in the rotation has been key for them and they consistently have big plays made by Jesse Barnes, Trafton Williams and Ty Jones. The Saints have already set themselves on a level above the field, after putting together dominant performance after dominant performance, beating what many people had a top contender in Prince Rupert, handily in the third round and pulling away from a strong Bella Bella squad in the semifinals. With Lax Kw’alaams out of the tournament, the Intermediate division will have a new name in its record books.

Senior Semi-Finals

Skidegate VS. Vancouver 10:30 a.m.

Senior Championship

Kitkatla VS. TBD** 7:30 p.m.

Defending champion Kitkatla warriors find themselves in a familiar spot heading into Saturday’s final. The team just sneaked by the five-time champion Skidegate in an overtime thriller, 93-91. Kitkatla’s tournament has been defined by one name, Jacob Thom. Thom was the MVP of the tournament last year and has been showing everybody why he deserved such a title. Thom is averaging 30 plus points through his first four games of the tournament and has looked unstoppable at times. Whoever wins the semi-final between Vancouver and Skidegate should have one question on their mind. How do you stop Thom?

NOTES:

*Skidegate will play the winner of the Bella Bella VS. Prince Rupert matchup for the Intermediate crown

** Kitkatla will play the winner of the Skidegate VS. Vancouver matchup for the Senior division title

READ MORE: All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.



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