It was a weekend of mixed results for the Muskie junior girls’ basketball team at the annual Tiger Fall Classic tournament in Thunder Bay.
The black-and-gold compiled a 2-2 record at the tourney, bowing out in the consolation final on Saturday.
The Muskies are slated to resume NorWOSSA action tomorrow afternoon against the Eagles in Dryden before wrapping up the regular season here next Tuesday (Oct. 30) versus the Kenora Broncos.
Fort High then will host the NorWOSSA playoffs on Nov. 6 and Muskie co-coach Gord McCabe knows it will be crucial for his squad to work on its consistency down the stretch.
“Judging from our lacklustre results in Thunder Bay, we need to work on our consistency,” he stressed.
“When we are ‘on,’ we are a pretty good basketball team,” McCabe remarked. “But we have had some stretches lately where we have had one silly mistake after another and we need to minimize those errors.
“We have room to improve in just about every area,” he added. “And we are going to work hard to be the best team we can be by the NorWOSSA playoffs.”
Fort High had opened tourney play Friday with a 39-22 loss to the St. Patrick Saints (Thunder Bay).
Lauren Penney scored a team-high five points while Keisha Debungie added four.
The black-and-gold then rebounded with a narrow 27-24 win over the Rainy River Owls.
Debungie led the way with six points while Cassie Krawchuk and Tatum Glowasky each netted four.
Kathryn Fischer added three points.
On Saturday, the Muskies rolled to a 41-16 rout of the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora).
Joanna Empey led the way offensively with a 10-point performance. Aurora Hutton and Debungie each netted six points while Fischer tallied four.
But Muskies saw their tourney come to an end in the consolation final with a 34-28 loss to the Broncos.
Empey and Glowasky each scored a team-high seven points in that one while Debungie and Justine Linklater added five apiece.
The Muskies went into the tournament having dumped those same Broncos (3-2) by a 53-26 score in Kenora on Thursday that improved their record to a NorWOSSA-best 5-1.
Debungie led the way with a huge 25-point performance while Becca Jourdain and Linklater each added six points and Ayiana Gagne netted five.
Last Tuesday (Oct. 16), the Muskies allowed the winless Eagles (0-5) to score 20 points on them in the first half but buckled down late en route to a 42-35 victory.
Debungie once again led the black-and-gold offensively with a 20-point performance, with Linklater and Glowasky each adding eight points.
“I thought the first half against Dryden was our worst half since our first game of the year,” McCabe admitted.
“We lacked the defensive intensity that is the key to our success and allowed Dryden to score 20 points in the first half, whereas the last time we played them in NorWOSSA, I think we gave up 19 in the entire game,” he recalled.
“We righted the ship in the second half but give Dryden credit–they played very well.”
McCabe also noted he thought his squad played a complete basketball game against the Broncos on Thursday.
“Our only loss in league play was to them in our [first game against them] up there so I was a little concerned going in,” he revealed.
“But we got off to a quick 10-0 start and never looked back.
“When I heard they beat us two days later in Thunder Bay, I was reminded of the unpredictability of high school basketball.”
McCabe also has been impressed lately with the play of Debungie, who has been a pillar on offence for the black-and-gold.
“Keisha Debungie was amazing against both Dryden and Kenora,” he lauded. “20-point games by an individual are rare at the junior level.
“And she had two in a row–with 20 against Dryden and 25 against Beaver Brae.
“I remember watching her play in Grade 8 and she had fabulous shooting form even back then,” he added.