Vikings drop hammer on Muskies hoopsters


When a team comes in on a 31-game winning streak, the best its opponents can do is hope to have the best day of their life while the express train rolling their way runs out of steam.
Neither happened for the Muskie senior girls’ basketball team, which proved to be just another victim of the Hammarskjold Vikings’ juggernaut.
The Thunder Bay squad still has not lost a game this year after taking care of business against the black-and-gold in a 2-0 sweep of the NWOSSAA final here over the weekend.
Hammarskjold, sporting a 33-0 record in regular-season, playoff, and tournament action, blitzed Fort High 41-9 on Friday afternoon to open the best-of-three showdown.
The story didn’t get any better for the Muskies in Game 2 on Saturday morning as the Vikings quickly ended any suspense by taking a 22-point lead at halftime en route to a 61-25 victory and a trip to the all-Ontarios.
Hammarskjold wiped out its opposition in the Thunder Bay league this season, including a sweep of the best-of-three final against the St. Ignatius Falcons with a pair of 30-point victories.
Muskie head coach Ian Simpson called the Vikings “the best team to come out of Thunder Bay in the past seven years”—and Hammarskjold lived up to the hype.
The opener Friday was a combination of a powerful inside-outside offensive attack, which had the Muskies on their heels the entire game, and a stifling pressure defence which gave Fort High four quarters of fits as the hosts were stymied time and again on their forays to the basket.
Individual scoring totals were not available for Game 1 as of press time.
Facing a must-win scenario Saturday morning, the Muskies wanted to come out with a better opening quarter.
Instead, they watched Hammarskjold assert itself with a 20-8 advantage after the first and then a 37-15 lead at halftime.
The tandem of Grade 12 all-star point guard Katie Ulakovic, already slated to suit up for the Lakehead University Thunderwolves next year, and Lindsay Inkila were pure dynamite in the first half.
Inkila scored all 15 of her points before the midway point while Ulakovic netted 11 of her 15 in the opening two quarters.
The Muskies tried to cut into the lead in the second half, but simply were overmatched athletically against a Vikings’ squad that should be a high seed at the all-Ontario ‘AA’ championship, which runs tomorrow through Saturday in Belleville.
Hammarskjold also proved adept at getting to the foul line, going 16-for-30 in Saturday’s game, while the Muskies reached the stripe half as often and settled for a 4-for-14 performance.
Jolene Stahn had nine points to lead Fort High in Game 2 while Kayla Windigo added six.
It was the Muskies’ first appearance at NWOSSAA in five years.