Senior hoopsters favoured heading into playoffs

Life couldn’t be any better for the Muskie senior girls’ basketball team heading into the final game of the regular season today against Kenora.
They go into it having already clinched first place and a bye in the NorWOSSA final next week. They also sport a perfect league record–their latest victory coming last Thursday in Dryden by a 41-31 score.
With their lineup pared down to 10 players against the Eagles, the Muskies used a unique set of two, five-player rotations which enabled them to give everyone an equal amount of playing time.
“With two shifts of five, we worked to get players some playing time, and it gives them more opportunity to see the floor and gain experience,” said head coach Gord McCabe.
“We’ve got to be careful in basketball. We have five, seven, eight players who get the majority of playing time but our other players have to be ready,” he stressed.
The Muskies led right from the outset against Dryden, opening up a commanding 12-4 lead by the four-minute mark of the first quarter. The black-and-gold also used a strong zone defence that kept the Eagles’ offence at bay.
Laureen Cousineau led the Muskies with 13 points while Kelly Crawford had a strong game on defence.
McCabe said he’s pleased with how his team looks heading into the final week of the season. “We’re pretty happy with our situation,” he noted. “There’s stuff we still want to work on but nothing drastic.”
But while the Muskies clearly are the class of NorWOSSA this season, McCabe said they’d better be careful with second-place Kenora, who will face Dryden in the NorWOSSA semi-final next week.
“Kenora is very capable of beating us,” he warned. “They’re a good basketball team. We will have to be at our best to beat them.”
Still, with the Muskies showing they’re clearly the best defensive team in the league, McCabe agreed that could be the telling point in the final.
“Oh definitely, in high school, defence wins basketball games,” he stressed. “We have a set of offensive and defensive goals each game and we want to shut down Kenora’s offence.”
Meanwhile, the junior girls also are having a solid season, going into today’s game with a 6-1 record and having clinched first place last Thursday in a wide-open 55-45 win over the Eagles.
The game was a battle between the Muskies’ speed and quickness versus Dryden’s size. And this time around, speed definitely won.
The Muskies used a well-balanced offensive game to outrun the Eagles down the floor. Leading by a slim 26-24 margin at halftime, the black-and-gold stretched their lead to 42-35, then went on an 11-3 run down the stretch to seal the victory.
Eight different players scored at least four points, and their defensive press tired the Eagles to the point that the Muskies were able to score several “soft” points late in the game.
Trista Barker led the attack with nine points while Allison Hyatt and Tricia Smith each netted eight. On defence, McCabe said Carling Barton played a strong game.


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