Muskie hoopsters hoping to rebound

Jamie Mountain

They did not get off to the start they wanted but there still is a lot of season left for the Muskie senior and junior boys’ basketball teams.
Both squads lost their NorWOSSA season-openers last Tuesday against the host Kenora Broncos and were looking to rebound this week.
They were slated to host the Dryden Eagles yesterday (the outcomes were not known as of press time), then will welcome the Broncos to the “Fish Tank” tomorrow afternoon.
Despite a team-high 24 points from Kobi Ward, the seniors lost a tough 71-70 decision to the Broncos last Tuesday.
“We started very slow and at one point the score was 20-4,” Muskie co-coach Greg Ste. Croix recalled.
“At the end of the [first] quarter, it was 25-14 for Beaver Brae and we shot 18-of-31 from the free-throw line,” he noted.
Sean Huziak added 14 points for the black-and-gold, with Ste. Croix noting he “had a really good game, he worked really hard on both ends of the floor.”
As for areas he would like his squad to clean up this week, Ste. Croix stressed the importance of playing a complete game, especially with a weekend tournament in Brandon, Man. on the slate.
“We need to start on time, and our focus has to be there from the tip-off to the final horn,” he remarked.
“We’ll need to lock in on our defensive responsibilities–stopping the ball, boxing out and rebounding, [and] limiting secondary chances to score.
“Offensively, we need to make open lay-ups,” Ste. Croix added. “Shoot the ball with more conviction and make our free-throws.”
As for the junior Muskies, they were routed 58-34 last Tuesday in Kenora.
Braydon Christiansen and Jordon Bazylewski led the way offensively for the black-and-gold with eight points apiece.
“Some major factors in [last Tuesday’s] outcome were finishing under the net and shooting from outside,” said Muskie co-coach Nicole Clarke.
“We got many offensive rebounds but could not finish under the net,” she noted.
“Beaver Brae was strong under their own net and didn’t let much traffic through,” Clarke added.
“We were forced to shoot from [the] outside and could not capitalize on those shots.”
Clarke said her squad has a lot of room for improvement but was pleased with Christiansen’s efforts in the loss.
“He was a strong force under the net,” she lauded. “He’s a Grade 10 student who didn’t play last year and has taken on a leadership role for our team.
“The first quarter was rough but as the game went on, we definitely improved,” Clarke recalled.
“I believe our man-to-man defence was strong and we didn’t let much traffic inside the paint.
“Most of Beaver Brae’s points came from outside the paint.”
In preparation for this week’s games against the Eagles and Broncos, Clarke said team-building is something the Muskies would like to focus on.
“I think our group has the potential for great chemistry, and that’s something that we can work on in practice to see who works well together,” she remarked.
“Being able to implement what we do in practice into a game situation is something that the boys will be focusing on, as well.”