Grand Forks Secondary School’s (GFSS) junior and senior boys’ basketball teams hosted the 2012 Junior/Senior Boys Basketball Classic this past weekend and both recorded 2-1 records.
The tournament saw South Slocan’s Mount Sentinel, Trail’s J.L. Crowe, Summerland Secondary School and South Okanagan Secondary School from Oliver.
The GFSS senior Wolves opened up the round robin tournament – which doesn’t have a championship and is based on record – with a 71-66 victory over Mount Sentinel on Friday followed with a 60-47 loss to Summerland on Saturday morning.
The seniors bounced back in the afternoon however, hammering J.L. Crowe 91-29.
“We easily saved the best for last,” explained senior Head Coach Michael Wirischagin after that final game.
“I think our players played up to it, I think we built towards it and I think the difference between this and the (Summerland) game was that we hit our shots – we took good shots and we hit them.”
Wirischagin said the team did everything right against Summerland but couldn’t make any baskets and as for the players, the win was sweet for a number of reasons.
“It’s pretty satisfying since it’s a big competition here between Grand Forks and Trail,” explained point guard Ryan Horahan. “We finally beat them and beat them badly.”
“It’s pretty satisfying because the last three games we played, they’ve all been pretty close and we thought we could play a lot better than that so our coach wanted us to have us come in here and make a statement,” explained small forward Brodie Hall. “It was a pretty convincing win.”
Wirischagin selected Hall as player of the game vs. Mount Sentinel, Horahan received the honour for the Summerland game and guard/forward Jason Usselman was named top player for the game against J.L. Crowe while centre/power forward Damien Rougeau was named tournament all-star.
“I thought I was pretty consistent (throughout the tournament) explained Rougeau. “I thought my defense was lacking some of the time but then I tried to pick it up as much as I can and keep my team going.”
Summerland finished the tournament with a tourney-best 3-0 record amongst the senior teams.
The junior Wolves also went 2-1, opening with a 38-29 victory over Mount Sentinel followed by a 49-43 win over Oliver and finishing with a 50-32 loss to J.L. Crowe.
While junior Head Coach Brian Thate said his team was “outsized” by a taller J.L. Crowe team, he was impressed overall by his team’s play throughout.
“I was really amazed by the guys. They played a really good team game in the first two, those were probably their best games of the season,” explained Thate. “They played disciplined, they did a very good job. Their defence was good, so was the offence.”
Thate said was especially happy with the wins against Mount Sentinel and Oliver, especially since both were close games.
“We did lose a couple of games earlier in the year that were close that were winnable and we didn’t so that was a good transition. Against (J.L. Crowe) our team game broke down a little bit – (J.L. Crowe) has very good size and athleticism and their defense was solid, so for our guys to penetrate against that was a bit of a challenge.”
“Defensively, we gave up too many rebounds in this particular game and rebounding is huge. (It) can win you games.”
Thate also said that one of the team’s best players, guard/forward Isiah McDonald, got into foul trouble against J.L. Crowe in the first quarter, limiting his playing minutes.
“The first two games were good but the last game we just fell apart,” explained McDonald but he pointed to the game against Oliver as the team’s best, possibly even of the season.
“We were passing, cutting, doing our offense well. Our shots were falling, we were playing good defense,” he said.
For point guard Travis Van Camp, the size difference between J.L. Crowe and Grand Forks was noticeable.
“They had a lot of height on us. Our team’s pretty short and they have quite a few tall players, it was pretty rough,” Van Camp said.
As for junior standouts, Thate said McDonald was the team’s all-star selection and he also lauded Ben Garrison, Ethan Peterson and Max Nicholson.
The coach said Garrison provided a lot of energy off the bench, Peterson played through a bloodied lip vs. J.L. Crowe and Nicholson played with “his whole heart the whole game, every game.”
A photo gallery of the event here.