Senior hoopsters swept by Vikings

Some lessons are best learned the hard way.
The Muskie senior boys’ basketball team was swept in two-straight games by the Hammarskjold Vikings at the NWOSSAA playoffs over the weekend in Thunder Bay.
The black-and-gold hung tough with the Vikings in the opening game of the best-of-three series Friday afternoon.
But a 13-3 run by the Vikings in the third quarter proved to be the difference as Hammarskjold grabbed the 1-0 series lead courtesy of a 64-50 win.
“The first game was good,” Muskie guard Joey Theriault noted Monday night.
“We had a good transition game going, but we couldn’t keep up,” he added. “They had great players, good inside players. We had to hold them and we couldn’t do it, they were just too strong inside.”
Morgan Anderson led all Muskie scorers with 20 points.
But while the Muskies were competitive in the opening game, they were blown out by the Vikings on Saturday morning in what proved to be the series’ clincher.
The black-and-gold struggled to find their shooting touch and fell behind 11-2 in the first quarter.
The team’s shooting woes continued throughout the game and, as a result, the Vikings cruised to an easy 49-27 victory.
“Our second game was kind of disappointing,” Theriault said. “The first half, they got up on us 11-2 and we couldn’t really do anything about it. We got down on ourselves and that’s where it started.”
“Our shots weren’t dropping and we weren’t penetrating enough,” echoed Anderson, who poured in 10 points to lead the Muskies for the second-straight game.
“Our starting lineup was pretty tired after that first game,” he added.
Despite the less-than-ideal results, the Muskies were happy with their performance and to have had the opportunity to play against the top competition in the region.
“It’s a great experience,” Theriault said of the Muskies’ time spent at NWOSSAA. “We got to play against some great players and learn from it.”
“It’s a big difference,” added Anderson. “None of the teams we play down here have good defence.
“When we played at NWOSSAA, against Hammarskjold, they could play defence.”
The black-and-gold are banking on this season’s experience to help them in what promises to be a promising future.
All five of the team’s starters—Theriault, Anderson, Jeremy Strain, Travis Stromness, and Garnet Cornell—are eligible to return to the team next season.
Add some promising junior players to the mix and it appears the Muskie senior boys’ basketball squad is poised to make another run deep into the playoffs a year from now.
“It’s going to help us grow a lot,” Anderson said of the lessons learned at NWOSSAA this year.
“We have quite a few good players coming up and all five of our starters are coming back, so it’s going to be a good year next year,” he predicted.