Jr. girls manage just one win

The Muskie junior girls’ basketball team looked like adequate, if not excellent, hosts this past weekend, going 1-2 in their six-team tournament at Fort High.
The black-and-gold opened action Friday by topping Red Lake 21-9 before falling to the Hammarskjold Vikings (Thunder Bay) by a close 21-17 score.
But they fared noticeably worse in a 31-5 rout at the hands of the St. Patrick Saints (Thunder Bay) on Saturday.
“For getting those young girls that floor time, it was a good weekend,” Muskie head coach Dan Bird said. “We got a little under a month for our Grade 9s to really pick up.”
The girls are following up their home tournament with one in Thunder Bay this weekend. Bird said he hoped the tough, unfamiliar opposition would harden his team a little.
“We’re not where we wanna be at this point in the season,” he admitted. “[But] I know we got the team to turn this around . . . and I know it’ll happen, I’m confident it’ll happen.”
Bird cited man-to-man play as the major failing of the Muskies over the weekend.
Against a fundamentally tough Saints’ squad, Fort High lost direction, falling behind even defending two-on-one and slashing at the ball in desperation, ending up in foul trouble early and often.
“We can’t afford to put them in that bonus situation that early in the half,” said Bird. “We’re gonna really work hard over the course of the week and really cut down on the unforced errors.”
“The first two games I was really happy with,” Bird added. “A lot of improvement, and a lot of individual improvement in the first two games [of the tournament].”
The tournament was made up of six teams (with Kenora and Dryden being the two the Muskies did not face) playing three matches each over the two days.
Dryden also finished with a 1-2 record, beating Red Lake 29-12 while losing to Hammarskjold 49-22 and St. Patrick 41-30.
The Kenora Broncos, meanwhile, lost to St. Patrick 23-22, but then trounced Red Lake 27-8 before upsetting heavily-favoured Hammarskjold 27-25 in the final match of the tournament.
A three-point shootout also was held Friday afternoon, with Muskie Chantal Caul emerging as the winner with five in a minute.
Caul said the personal win was “awesome,” and admitted it came as a bit of a surprise since she’s not known for dropping many “treys” on the court.
“Sometimes during practice, I take the odd one, but that’s about it,” she laughed.
Asked if she’ll consider shooting from behind the arc more during games, Caul replied, “I’m gonna try.”
Bird said the competition was nice to “give her a boost of confidence.” And in the upcoming shootout in their next tournament, Caul definitely will get a chance to defend her title.