Gitwinksihlkw had another reason to celebrate on Saturday, as the women’s team won the championship game at the All Native Basketball Qualifying Tournament, 58-52 over Hesquiaht.
The women won the game shortly before the Gitwinksihlkw men also won their championship game, giving the Nisga’a Village multiple reasons to feel hopeful going into the February tournament.
The two teams played a hard-fought, defensive game that saw 40 total fouls. The first half was a tight affair, finishing 24 to 24.
In the second half, Gitwinksihlkw pulled ahead thanks to a balanced offensive attack. The team went on a 13-4 run in the fourth quarter to put a nail in the coffin for Hesquiaht.
The women also helped themselves by incurring far less fouls in the latter half. Hesquiaht was awarded 19 free throws in the first half and only seven in the third and fourth quarters.
Rochelle Francois led the charge with 19 points and went 5-for-11 in free throws. Samantha Azak scored 12 points and the rest of the team each chipped in several points in the win.
For Hesquiaht, Mariah Charleson stood out. She played a hard game, creating turnovers and scoring opportunities for her team. She scored 11 points and took only one foul.
Bonita Frank led that team in scoring, with 13 points.
The game was an intense competition between the two.
Along with Gitwinksihlkw and Hesquiaht, Klemtu also advanced to the main tournament.