Junior hoopsters improve at weekend tourney

The Muskie junior boys’ basketball team used a 9-0 third-quarter run en route to a 39-18 win over the Dryden Eagles in the seventh-place game at a tournament in Kenora last weekend.
The Muskies, who took control of the game early with an impressive 13-2 run in the first quarter, used a strong, balanced scoring attack to down the Eagles.
Roy Tighe led the black-and-gold with eight points while Jordan Nastiuk, Travis Derksen, and Dan Poperechny each netted six.
Head coach Ian Simpson said he was pleased with his team’s performance despite the fact they lost their first two games–54-23 to the Hillcrest Colts and 29-27 to the Hammarskjold Vikings–to get quickly relegated to the seventh-place game.
“I think the team improved a great deal and really needed a tournament like this to develop team chemistry,” said Simpson. “When they play against teams from Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, they get to see other players play the game at a more intense level.
“We had some players who doubled their level of play,” he enthused.
Simpson pointed to the play of Vern Pham as being solid in bringing the ball upcourt, saying he cut back on his turnovers and made “good decisions” with the ball.
He also felt Tighe had a strong weekend.
“Tighe improved his game up a step and really came along on the weekend,” Simpson said. “He grew with the pressure of handling the ball upcourt.”
He also noted the coaches felt the team would benefit more by giving everyone an equal amount of court time rather than playing their five best players throughout.
The final scores were not important, Simpson stressed.
Using a split squad of five players, the Muskies trailed the Colts 35-14 at halftime in their opening game Friday and couldn’t get any closer during the second half.
Pham led the Muskies with seven points while Tighe added six.
The black-and-gold then lost a heart-breaking 29-27 decision to the Vikings in a game that was as close as the score indicated. The Muskies led 14-12 at the half, then tried playing a ball control game to keep the game as close as possible in hopes of pulling out the victory in the latter stages.
“It wasn’t a pretty ballgame,” admitted Simpson. “We couldn’t run with them so we tried to slow the game down and tried to snatch a win in the last minutes.”
Tighe led the Muskies in that game with 10 points while Jock Gemmell netted six.