To some, offensive rebounds are a secondary stat. It’s nice, but it’s no points-per-game or field goal percentage.
Not so for Metlakatla Alaska (AK).
The boys in blue pulled off a dominant first half against Hartley Bay in the Intermediate division of the All Native Qualifying Tournament last weekend, which paved the way for a 76-67 victory and the tourney title.
“We talked about it last night,” said Metlakatla AK’s Dominique Harrell after the game.
“Crashing the boards on defence and offence and I think we did a pretty good job out there tonight as a team.”
Harrell was one of the points leaders, collecting 13 in the win and nine alone in the second quarter.
A 15-8 deficit stood in the way of Hartley Bay as Metlakatla AK’s hot start proved to be the difference and the team never relinquished their lead.
By the time the half-time buzzer came around, Metlakatla AK had built a 43-31 cushion for themselves and looked like they would be on cruise control for the second half.
But a resilient Hartley Bay side made things difficult when Kaine Wesley put up 15 points, part of an 18-point third quarter for Hartley Bay.
Wesley sank two three-point shots and had three field goals along with three more points from the free throw line.
“I think we did a pretty good job maintaining our floor, the score and just everything in general really,” said Harrell.
“We’re a good team. We come fresh out of high school. Some of us are in college – we grew up together mostly.”
And with Metlakatla AKs history of second-place finishes in various tournaments in North America, Harrell wanted to see a different outcome.
“We said, ‘you know what, we’re tired of getting second’. We need to push it if we want to win,” he said.
Mases Nix got the team going in the second half when the opposing Hartley Bay players came on strong with an accurate shot to keep the momentum on Metlakatla AK’s side, and Tristan Alexander scored 15 points with Nix notching seven points in the fourth quarter and 10 overall and Erik Hudson collecting 19 in the game.
Russell Reece and Wesley led the way for Hartley Bay offensively.
Metlakatla AK defeated Greenville twice, lost to Hartley Bay and beat Gitwinksihlkw on their way to the championship.
Hartley Bay beat Metlakatla AK and Gitwinksihlkw to reach the final. The Prince Rupert F.H. Juniors also took part.