Hoopsters settle for silver medals

The Muskie junior and senior girls’ basketball teams competed for NorWOSSA gold last Thursday at the league playoffs in Dryden. But despite their dynamic team work and championship attitudes, both squads had to settle for silver after losing in the finals.
The first to kick off the playoffs were the senior girls, who faced the host Eagles in the semi-final showdown.
The girls started the game on the right foot, jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. By the end of the third quarter, that lead had grown to 18-6.
The black-and-gold were working to sink as many three-pointers as possible. While they couldn’t seem to make that happen, the squad still managed to make it 24-10 in the fourth.
Emily Haggberg sunk both her foul shots in the late going to ice the 30-16 victory.
Unfortunately, it was a different story in the final against the first-place Kenora Broncos that evening. And what started off bad for the team just seemed to get worse with each quarter.
Being the second game the Muskies had played that day (and only the first for the Broncos), their lack of energy shown in their performance, which saw them trailing 23-14 at halftime.
Although Katie McTavish seemed to be in five places at once on the court, the black-and-gold took a real pounding in the fourth quarter as Kenora built up an insurmountable lead en route to a 46-24 victory and a berth in the NWOSSAA finals.
Although frustration and exhaustion were weighing on the senior girls, they had their game on until the very last second and proved that regardless of whether or not they were going home with the gold, they were doing so with dignity.
“You have to be at your best to beat a team like that and we were tired,” noted Muskie head coach Ian Simpson. “They were a tough team and we weren’t at out best out there.”
Still, Simpson said he was happy with their performance in Dryden. “Really, we had a great season all together,” he remarked.
< *c>Juniors fall short
Meanwhile, the Muskie junior girls also got off to a good start last Thursday in Dryden, beating the Kenora Broncos 23-19 in the semi-final to advance to the final against the first-place Eagles.
Although the score was tight at the end, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the black-and-gold led 22-9 heading into the fourth quarter but almost let victory slip through their fingers.
Passing up too many opportunities to shoot allowed the Broncos to come storming back.
Against Dryden in the final later Thursday, the Muskies found themselves quickly down 9-4 and had a tough time catching up to the Eagles, who took every single opportunity to shoot—be it realistic or not.
The black-and-gold, meanwhile, not only were having trouble making a basket, they even struggled just to hang on to the ball. Every attempt to complete a pass only contributed to the Eagles’ 44-24 victory.
“I’m proud of how they played because this year we had a fresh team,” Muskie head coach Dan Bird said after their silver medal-winning performance. “Next year I can almost guarantee a win.”

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