Senior hoopsters sink Eagles

A close game quickly turned into a lay-up drill for the Muskie senior boys’ basketball squad here yesterday afternoon.
The black-and-gold used their quick transition game to blow open a 28-22 halftime lead en route to a 66-43 win over the Dryden Eagles to improve to 6-1 with one regular-season game left.
But it was the Muskies’ only win of the four matches as the junior boys, as well as the senior and junior girls’ volleyball teams, all fell to the visiting Eagles.
The Eagles, who handed the Muskies their only loss on the season here last month, hung in tough—and even held slim lead early on. But the hosts regained the lead on a pair of open court lay-ups by Voung Pham and Faical Cheblaoui.
Jamie Algie and Jock Gemmell then went to work in the third quarter in an 18-4 run that put the game out of reach.
“As the game went on, we got more aggressive and it turned into quick transition points for us,” said Muskie co-coach Paul Noonan.
Gemmell led the attack with 14 points, followed by Algie with 10 and four players with eight apiece (Pham, Cheblaoui, Travis Derkson, and Dan Poperechny).
Co-coach Mike Busch said the team, who beat the Eagles by 20 points up there Tuesday, weren’t surprised by what Dryden threw at them.
“We came out a little slow,” he said. “But they knew we were going to adjust our game.”
The senior squad travelled to Dryden today to face the Eagles again to kick off round-robin play in a six-team tournament there. Beaver Brae and St. Thomas Aquinas (Kenora), and St. Johns-Ravenscourt and Silver Heights (Winnipeg), round out the field.
Meanwhile, the Muskie junior boys came out flat, scoring only eight points in the first half en route to a 51-34 loss.
Andrew Mueller led the black-and-gold (3-4) with eight points while Dan McIntyre and Mark Buist each netted six.
“The Eagles had a great balance in scoring,” said junior head coach Greg Ste. Croix. “We didn’t start really playing until the second half.”
In girls’ volleyball action, the juniors dropped the first two sets 25-20 and 25-23 before rallying to win the next two 28-26 and 25-21 to force a fifth-and-deciding set.
But they fell 15-12 in that one to give Dryden the victory.
The loss dropped their NorWOSSA record to 3-4. And while they’ve lost all four games to Dryden, head coach Struchan Gilson said they’ve narrowed the gap each time
“We lost three sets to none the first two times and now we’ve taken them to five sets the last two times,” said Gilson. “So I’d say that’s a sign of improvement for our team.”
The senior girls (1-6) also continued to be stymied by the Eagles. They lost the first set 25-13, won the second one 25-21, then gave up early leads in 25-17 and 25-19 losses to end the match.
All four teams will visit Kenora on Tuesday to wrap up the regular season, with the playoffs back in Kenora on Feb. 22.
In related news, yesterday was the last home game for several departing seniors.
The program said their good-byes to OAC students Christin Thomson, Linda Zimmerman, Lisa Shumaker, Cheblaoui, Derkson, Algie, Gemmell, and Josh McMahon.