Muskie hoopsters falter at Kenora tourney

Almost nothing went according to plan for the Muskie senior boys’ basketball team at the Kenora Invitational Tournament last weekend.
Fort High posted a 1-2 mark and failed to make the playoff round, taking an unorthodox route through the tournament along the way.
The Muskies opened play against the powerhouse Daniel MacIntyre Maroons (Winnipeg), who had beaten the black-and-gold by more than 40 points in their last encounter earlier this season.
But instead of another blowout defeat, the Muskies made the Maroons earn their stripes before falling 63-44.
“It was a much better effort by us against them this time,” said Muskie coach Paul Noonan. “They hit a bunch of threes on us late in the second quarter.
“We were playing zone, and they were making their outside shots.”^Milan Bejeljanin poured in 16 points for the Maroons while Kim Ordonez pitched in 13. Kevin Gemmell and Cullan McGinnis each had 13 for the Muskies.
Then what should have been a cakewalk for the ‘AA’ Muskies against the ‘A’-level St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) in their next outing turned into a stunning upset, as the Saints got hot late to grab a 70-63 victory in overtime.
Leading 53-41 entering the fourth quarter, Noonan’s troops seemed to be in charge. But that was before the Muskies’ offence went to sleep while Saints’ guard Eugene Greene woke up his team with 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined on his way to a game-high 31.
“We just started missing everything and the momentum shifted,” said Noonan, whose squad had managed 10 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We lost our self-confidence while everything they threw up was going in.”^Gemmell led the Muskies with 14 points while Anwar Chebloui had 12. McGinnis added 11 and Andrew George 10.
That forced the Muskies to face their NorWOSSA rivals from Kenora in their final game.
But the Broncos were no match for Fort High, who earned a 57-46 win.
“The guys came out real sharp,” Noonan said about the Muskies racking up a 20-13 lead after one quarter. “They wanted to avenge that St. Thomas Aquinas game.
“It went pretty well like most of our games against Kenora. We match up well with them.”^Gemmell chalked up 18 points to pace the black-and-gold while McGinnis had 13 and Larry Pham 11. Glen Williams led the Broncos’ attack with 20 points.
The Muskies were to have played in a tournament in Thunder Bay at the end of January but that has been cancelled. They’ll next hit the floor Feb. 5 in Kenora against the Broncos in NorWOSSA action.