Junior hoopsters compete in Winnipeg

The Muskie junior boys’ basketball team finished with a 1-2 record in a tournament at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate (Winnipeg) last weekend.
The black-and-gold opened the eight-team showdown Friday with a lopsided 65-20 loss to Maples Collegiate. Leading 10-9 after the first quarter, the Marauders blew the game wide open by going on a decisive 21-0 run in the second stanza.
Head coach Ian Simpson said that definitely was the difference.
“They were a very active, very agile team–they had a good squad,” he noted. “We played pretty well [to start] but we missed about five easy lay-ups in the second quarter.
“We tried to slow the game down, because they were much faster than us, but turnovers cost us,” he added.
Dan Poperechny paced the Muskies in that game with six points.
But the black-and-gold rebounded to beat the Sturgeon Creek Schooners 38-29 on Saturday. Simpson said it was a good defensive game by his team, already without the services of one of their top players in Jamie Algie, and with their other big man, Jock Gemmell, playing through an ankle injury.
The Muskies put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter with a strong 14-4 run.
Roy Tighe led the way with 13 points, including hitting six of eight from the free-throw line. Facial Cheblaoui added 12, eight of which came in the final quarter.
But the Muskies were ousted from further contention after dropping a tight 40-39 decision to Kildonan East in their next game.
Down by one point with just 3.5 seconds to play, the Muskies called a timeout but then they couldn’t get a shot off as a result of an inbound pass and were left reeling with the heartbreaking loss.
The black-and-gold were forced to play catch up most of the game, battling back from an eight-point deficit with two minutes to go only to fall just short.
The Muskies led 9-6 after the first quarter but then watched as Kildonan East outscored them 13-7 in the second to grab a 19-16 lead at the break.
Kildonan East stretched their lead to 30-25 after three quarters before jumping ahead by as many as the eight points down the stretch.
Cheblaoui was on fire from the outside, scoring a game-high 17 points and hitting three shots from behind the three-point line. Tighe added 11 points in the loss.
Simpson said Tighe, Poperechny, and Vern Pham all had strong weekends for the Muskies, who used the tournament as a warm-up for their NorWOSSA semi-final showdown with the Dryden Eagles this Friday in Kenora.
The winner moves on to play the host Broncos in the league final later that day.