Prince Rupert teams saw mixed results at the All Native Basketball Ball Tournament (ANBT) in Day 2 action at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre today (April 4).
Game 4 in the Senior Men’s Division saw the Gitxsan Elite (Hazelton) up against the host Prince Rupert Grizzlies in the Main Gym.
It was a tight game with multiple lead changes until early in the third quarter when the Elite started sinking virtually every shot they looked at while the Grizzlies struggled to find the net.
Hazelton gradually pulled away and took a 14 shot lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth Hazelton appeared to be dropping three-pointers at will adding to the lead and eventually a 104-81 final.
Grizzlies coach Anthony Yecyec was proud of his team’s effort despite the loss.
“Honestly, they worked hard,” he said. “That was a tough team to match up against. We’re a smaller team… to match up against those taller guys, it was tough to figure out and start to manage on defence. Our guys were able to figure it out later on, it was just that team made a lot of their threes, they didn’t miss.”
Russell Reece took top scoring honours for Rupert with 19.
Yecyec said in future games, they will be working on going into the second half strong.
“That’s the thing, is coming out of halves with more energy. The first five minutes after halves are so important to kind of get your momentum going, kind of how they did it, is they kicked it into high gear and started their half off on a higher note.”
Elite coach Martin Smith was very satisfied with the result.
“We haven’t won an opening game here in a few years now and beating the home team that’s a bonus,” he said.
Smith credited the scoring to a influx of new blood.
“We’ve got an influence of some young guys this year and it’s really helping us out and veterans are playing better too now, doing what they’re supposed to do out there.”
Colton Murrel led the Elite with 35 points on the day.
With the loss, Rupert is now relegated to the elimination round where they will meet either Lax Kw’alaams or Similkameen who were scheduled to play late this afternoon.
With the win, Hazelton earned the right to go up against second-seeded Metlalatla, Alaska in the second round tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
The Rupert women (Prince Rupert Rain) fared better than their male counterparts beating Gitwinksihlkw in the early morning draw.
The first half of the game was a tight 20 minutes with several lead changes none of which exceeded five points. Gitwinksihlkw was hot from beyond the three point line, but struggled in the paint.
In the third quarter, however, the host team started to pull away holding their opponent to only one three-pointer and opening a 10-point lead.
A late flurry of free throws that brought Gitwinksihlkw back within seven of the lead would not be enough as the Rain held sank two foul shots of their own for the 54-45 victory.
Rupert moves on to Round 3 and will face Hazelton — who prevailed in a 49-48 squeaker against Greenville in the late morning.