The final of the women’s section of the All Native Qualifying Basketball Tournament finished Saturday night at the Jim Ciccone Gymnasium. The two teams pitted in the final were Greenville and Vancouver. The winner received payment for the entry fee to the main tournament in February.
The athletes showed a lot of heart, playing hard for 40 minutes, but in the end it was Vancouver who were able to outlast their opposition, beating Greenville 53-43 for the win.
Greenville jumped out to a good start early, with Marissa Nyce hitting a couple 3-pointers.
Alicia Stevens was on point hitting mid-range jumpers.
With Greenville running a four-high, one-low offence and their pressure man-to-man defence, the intensity was ramped up. Vancouver countered with solid shooting from Joleen Mitton.
Vancouver’s Rhonda Simpson kept the game fresh with good handles and ball movement. The first quarter ended 14-14.
The second quarter began with turnovers. Fatigue from all the games over the weekend was catching up with the athletes. Hard defence dominated the second, with only two buckets from each team being scored halfway through the quarter. Micita Barton from Vancouver had a good quarter shooting draining two long jumpers. The score at the half was 26-25.
Julissa Azak drove hard to the hoop possession after possession to open the second half. This opened the floor for the ball to be kicked out side for open three-pointers. Thanks to this efficient play Vancouver built a four-point lead – the biggest of the game so far.
Greenville came back with some big shots and shrunk the lead back to one right away but Barton opened the lead back up as she went to the hoop for an and-one bucket.
She then continued the strong play with more baskets, extending the lead 42-32.
In the fourth quarter, there was much of the same for Vancouver, as their superior ball movement and penetration in the paint to get quality shots gave Greenville fits. The team mounted a comeback at the 6:20 mark where they were down as many as 10 and cut the lead to six points, 44-38.
Another Greenville basket caused Vancouver to call a full time out with the deficit now at four. This was as close as Greenville would get as Vancouver’s Jade Montgomery stopped the bleeding with a fast break lay-up. The game finished 53-43 for Vancouver.
“I was proud they played together as a team. It wasn’t an individual game, but they were passing well and looking for the open player, rather than themselves. We were more aggressive than we have been in the past two games, and the girls trusted each other,” said player and coach Montana Howe.
“We will be back in February.”