The Bella Bella Masters made it back-to-back championships with a 71-63 victory over the Prince Rupert Masters squad.

The Bella Bella Masters made it back-to-back championships with a 71-63 victory over the Prince Rupert Masters squad.

Prince Rupert Masters fall to Bella Bella in the final game

The Heiltsuk Nation basketball team from Bella Bella is the 2011 champions of the master division at the 52nd Annual All-Native Basketball Tournament.

The Heiltsuk Nation basketball team from Bella Bella is the 2011 champions of the master division at the 52nd Annual All-Native Basketball Tournament.

They Played against the Coast Hotel team from Prince Rupert in the finals on Saturday, a game that was in a dead heat almost the entire time.

In the first quarter, the scores remained completely tied almost the entire time. One team would score and then the other and the scores would climb together with no team being able to break out ahead. At the five-minute mark the teams were tied at seven points each. The game was also very rough with players constantly crashing into each other and sending some men crashing to the floor. Eventually one of the players from Bella Bella had to be helped off the court with an apparent injury to his leg. The quarter ended in a 14 – 14 tie.

In the second quarter, the scores remain essentially tied with each team still scoring immediately after the other. The Prince Rupert team apparently tried to shake things up by trying some long passes in order to set up players Brody Johnston and Jimmy Andreff for breakaways from the pack so they could take undefended shots at the basket. Even this tactic didn’t break the dead heat. The quarter ended with a close score of Prince Rupert 35 – Bella Bella 32.

In the third quarter, Prince Rupert’s slight lead vanished when Bella Bella managed to tie the game again right away. About mid way through the quarter Bella Bella began to take the lead, eventually coming out seven points ahead of Rupert. Rupert rallied and managed to close the gap in the last two minutes of the quarter and it ended with another dead heat of Bella Bella 55 – Prince Rupert 54.

In the fourth quarter, the players appear to get frantic and the game started becoming rough again. Another Bella Bella player, had to be helped off the court with another leg injury. Now the tie that has lasted the entire game started to fade when Bella Bella took the lead. By the time there was 6:00 left on the clock they had a 10-point lead. Prince Rupert couldn’t recover before the final buzzer and Bella Bella won by a final score of 71 – 63.

Bella Bella player Mitch Martin was named Most Valuable Player in the masters division.

“We had to dig a little deep this year because all those young fellas are all 35 and they made us work hard,” says Martin.