Fantastic Basketball at Swan Valley Credit Union Classic

Submitted by:
Shayne Yaschyshyn |

The SVRSS gymnasium was the site of some fantastic basketball games this past weekend as the SVRSS Varsity Girls hosted 7 teams from across Manitoba & Saskatchewan for the Swan Valley Credit Union Varsity Classic.

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The following teams motored to Swan River to participate in the tournament the Kamsack Spartans, Kelvington Golden Hawks, Gilbert Plains Trojans, Hudson Bay Riders, Neelin Spartans from Brandon, Major Pratt Trojans from Russell, Crocus Plains Plainsmen from Brandon and the host Swan Valley Tigers.

The tournament started off Friday (February 3, 2017) morning with the host Tigers taking on the Kamsack Spartans. The Tigers came out slow but got into a steady rhythm at the halfway point of the first quarter and at the end of the first quarter were up 22 – 6. The Tigers continued this play in the second quarter and at the half the score was 34 – 7. The Spartans came out strong in the 3rd quarter and the Tigers came out too complacent which allowed the Spartans to control the play and at the end of the third quarter the score was 43 – 26. The Tigers regrouped and came out strong in the 4th with the final score ending up 66-42 for the home squad. “We came out a little slow, mostly the nerves of playing at home, commented Head Coach Shayne Yaschyshyn, once we got over the nervousness we played our team game.”

In the second game of the tournament the Kelvington Golden Hawks took on the Gilbert Plains Trojans. This was a very entertaining game with the lead going back and forth throughout the game. In the end the Trojans sneaked out a 41 – 40 win. The third game of the day saw the Hudson Bay Riders take on the Neelin Spartans from Brandon. The Spartans took control of the game early and never looked back on their way to a 59-14 victory. In the fourth game of the day the Major Pratt Trojans from Russell took on the Crocus Plains Plainsmen from Brandon. The Plainsmen controlled the game from the start with the end result being a 55-14 win. The consolation side semi-finals were played Friday evening with the Kamsack Spartans taking on the Kelvington Golden Hawks. Kamsack came out with the win 53-30 putting them into the consolation final and the Golden Hawks into the 7th place game. In the other consolation semi-final the Hudson Bay Riders took on the Major Pratt Trojans. The Trojans came out with the victory 64-36 which placed them into the consolation final against the Kamsack Spartans.

In the Championship Semi- final the Tigers came up against the Gilbert Plains Trojans at 9:00am Saturday morning. Gilbert Plains is a well-structured and well coached team (Swan Valley native Trevor Beals) and for a young team is having a lot of success this season.

The Tigers, after a rousing version of Happy Birthday performed during the pre-game meeting, came out strong and got an early lead, after the firsts quarter the Tigers were up 22 – 9. The Tigers continued to play strong with relentless full court pressure to amass a lead of 38 points by half time with the score being 52-14. In the second half the Tigers continued to play well structured defense after getting into foul trouble early in the third quarter, this strong defensive play continued in the fourth quarter, make the final 88 – 35. “We came ready to play this morning and controlled the play really well. These last two games allowed a lot of playing time for everyone on the team” said assistant coach and Birthday boy Ian Kitch, “those are valuable minutes as game play is a good learning experience.”

The win against the Trojans moved the Tigers into the Championship final. In the second championship game put cross town rivals, the Neelin Spartans against the Crocus Plains Plainsmen. The Plainsmen came out on top with a 54 – 30 victory. That set up the championship final to have the Plainsmen versus the Tigers and the third place game between the Gilbert Plains Trojans and the Neelin Spartans. First to play though would be the 7th place game between the Golden Hawks and the Riders. This game went back and forth with two evenly matched teams. In the end the Riders came out with a 45-42 win. Next up was the consolation final between the Kamsack Spartans and the Major Pratt Spartans. Both teams came ready to play and this physical game ended with the Trojans Consolation winners. The third place game was next on the schedule with the Gilbert Plains Trojans taking on the Neelin Spartans. Both teams played a strong game with the Spartans taking the win and third place bragging rights by a score of 51-25.

This left the Championship final to be played by the Plainsmen and the Tigers. These teams had only met once this year which resulted in a very entertaining game with the Plainsmen taking the win in their gym by 10. The Tigers were ready to play and started strong as did the Plainsmen.

At the end of the first quarter the Plainsmen were up 14 to 8. The Tigers came out in the second with some urgency and played strong on both sides of the ball to take the lead going into the half 23 -22. The Tigers continued to play well rounded basketball in the third quarter and started the fourth quarter with a 6 point lead. In the fourth quarter the Tigers continued to play a strong game, but the Plainsmen came out with a renewed urgency and the lead went back and forth the entire quarter. At one point the Tigers were down by 8 but they came back to be in the lead with less than a minute left in the game. The Plainsmen increased their pressure play which resulted in this game not being decided in regular time, after 40 minutes the score was 51 – 51. After a short break the teams took back to the floor for a 5 minute overtime. The play went back and forth and both teams were leaving everything on the floor. In the end the Plainsmen sneaked out the victory 60-59. “We played one of, if not the best, basketball games in recent memory against the Plainsmen” said Yaschyshyn, “We played a very sound game with a level of intensity that showed why we are having the success we are experiencing this year. The Plainsmen play a tough and fast game with quick transition, we were able to manage their game and keep them away from easy buckets. Our transition game was spot on and we played with the level of intensity that we need to keep playing at for the rest of the season. While the loss was heartbreaking, we played at a level against a team that is a contender for the 4A provincial championship and with that in mind we can take this loss as a win for our continued growth this year.”

Tournament All Stars were awarded to the following athletes, Mellissa Bezan from the Major Pratt Trojans, Kassidy G. from the Neelin Spartans, Ali Henkelman from the Tigers, and Chelsea Munro and Faith Clearsky from the Plainsmen.

Overall the Tigers hosted a very successful tournament. The success of the tournament could not have happened without the dedication of our local referees – Ronn Vestby, Laurie Munroe, Nyle Williams, Sayle Williams, Jody Williams and Duane Whyte.

Also big thanks to the score keepers who helped out during our games and all of the parents who came out to cheer on their athletes.

Next up for the SVRSS Varsity Girl Basketball team is a well-deserved weekend off after 4 straight weekends of competition. The Tigers will then head to Gilbert Plains on February 17th to participate in the GPCI Trojan Varsity tournament.