Prince Rupert teams continued their dominance in regional basketball in early April when the Prince Rupert Lights Out squad recorded their second straight championship victory over their competition at the 12th Annual Kitamaat Open Basketball Tournament.
Hosted and organized by the Haisla Nation Council, District of Kitimat and Kitimat Chamber of Commerce, it was once again the North Coast team that proved too tough to beat in the three-day event featuring teams from Vancouver, Terrace, Greenville, Kitimat and the surrounding area from April 1-3.
The Lights Out defeated the host Haisla Braves 101-53 in the men’s division final to claim their title.
The victory and the team’s dominance came as no surprise to those who might have checked out the Lights Out roster before game-time.
Featuring a handful of players who made an appearance at the recent 57th Annual All Native Basketball Tournament, including Darcy Pearson and Jason Alsop of the Skidegate Saints, who won all-star recognition and tournament MVP titles respectively at the Kitamaat Open, the Lights Out were a force to be reckoned with all weekend long and took home $2,000 in prize money.
Rounding out the standings on the men’s side were Hazelton in third-place, Port Simpson in fourth, Aiyansh in fifth, Northwest Ballers in sixth, the Terrace Waks took seventh and Kincolith placed eighth.
Jesse Smith of the Haisla Braves was also able to garner an all-star nomination.
In the ladies’ division, Team Haisla AB won first-place over second-place Vancouver NWA, while Kitamaat-Hartley Bay came in third, the Terrace Kermodes placed fourth, Greenville took fifth and Gitwinksihlkw rounded out the teams in sixth.
Mary-Anne Amos of Haisla AB was named a tourney all-star from Haisla AB and her teammate, Kierra Stevens, won the MVP and Cultural Spirit Award. Stevens’ cultural spirit designation takes into account her athletic and academic accomplishments, which are many. Upon graduating from Mount Elizabeth High School in Kitimat this year, Stevens is preparing for a post-secondary journey in nursing school in Alberta and was named a Junior All Native all-star at Williams Lake earlier in the year.
The Lights Out now look to return to Kitimat next year to repeat as champs.