Vancouver is headed to the All Native Basketball Tournament (ANBT) in February thanks to a 74-69 win over Ahousaht in the qualifying championship game this weekend at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
Van City won on the strength of Steph Curry’s game — in other words, they shot a lot of three’s. The team sank 11 three-pointers, which is the main reason it won this close game.
Dylan Joe was especially Curry-esque. He hit six three’s and tallied 28 points to lead the charge.
Teammate Cyrus Baker-Baylis was also a force in the game, making his presence known. He shot four three-pointers and 19 overall points — 14 in the first quarter alone — and went 5-for-8 at the free throw line.
The two combined for more than half of Vancouver’s total points.
The score might have been more, except for some great blocking by the Ahousaht Hoyas, particularly Cedric Mack. His defensive play kept the team in the game.
Kobe Amos was the Hoyas’ top scorer. He played an excellent offensive game, scoring several baskets in each quarter and draining the majority of his shots. He finished with 24 points.
Van City seemed to be struggling early on, missing lots of shots in the first several minutes. But the team settled down and led 17-9 after the first quarter, almost entirely on the strength of Baker-Baylis’ 14 points.
But that lead quickly evaporated in the second quarter. Ahousaht rallied to within one point within the first few minutes. But Vancouver quieted them with a strong finish to the half, to lead 34-24.
The second quarter involved a bit of an injury scare. Braeden McKay collided with another player and hit the ground. He lay there for a few minutes, writhing in pain. Eventually, he was helped to the medical table as the hearty crowd cheered for him. He would return in the second half.
Again in the third quarter, the Hoyas rallied, outscoring Van City 27-17 to tie the game at 51-51.
But in the fourth, the three’s and free throw opportunities would be the difference to hand the victory to Vancouver.
The three intermediate teams who advanced are Vancouver, Ahousaht and Bella Coola.