The Skidegate Saints put on a show late in their final game against the Kitkatla Warriors on Saturday evening, proving that they should never be counted out by making up a 13-point deficit in less than seven minutes before winning their sixth straight championship in overtime.
The game was almost like scenes from a sports biopic, right down to the tears of both joy and sorrow that followed the emotional game.
“This team never gives up. We’ve been playing together since we were in high school and we’ve just been through too much together that we just never give up,” said the Saints’ Jared Casey, who scored 15 points in the game, including 10 in the crucial fourth quarter. He was also named outstanding player from the senior’s division.
For most of the game, the Warriors dominated, much to the glee of their many fans, who chanted “Let’s Go Warriors” intermittently.
Although Kitkatla led by just four at the half, they put up 23 points in the third and built up a 13-point lead, thanks to successful shooting and strong defence, but both those skills crumbled in the final 6:48 of the game.
A couple turnovers and missed opportunities plus a defiant push by the Saints, who had already lost to the Warriors in the tournament a day earlier, brought the game closer and closer, making Kitkatla fans uneasy.
Whether it was out of panic or something else, the Warriors struggled to score and the Saints took advantage at every chance, finally tying it up with just 2.8 seconds left in the game.
“That’s just incredible,” Casey said, still shaking his head at the game.
Tied up at 69-69 after four quarters, it was more of the same in overtime. The Saints got a three from Jason Alsop, but the Warriors managed to tie it up. Still, Kitkatla missed other scoring opportunities to take the lead.
Finally, Darcy Pearson gave the Saints the 74-72 lead, but the drama didn’t end there. As the buzzer sounded, the Warriors fired off one last desperate shot but to their dismay, it hit the backboard, then the rim before going in — disqualifying the shot from counting, giving the Saints the unbelievable win.
A supportive Warriors fan base surrounded the team to comfort them as the Skidegate Saints celebrated an impressive sixth straight championship.
“That’s a great team that we just played and they battled and they had us. We just showed some heart and went hard and let the chips fall where they may,” Casey said.
The Saints’ Tyler York was named MVP of the senior division after the game for the second straight year, surely helped by his 27 points in the game. On the other side, Jacob Thom was a major force for the Warriors, also scoring 27 points. Thom was named most inspirational player of the tournament, as well as best defensive player.