Varsity Boys Take Third in Hoops for Hope Tournament

Submitted by:
Kevin Carter |

The Swan Valley Tigers Varsity Boys participated in the Linden Christian Hoops for Hope tournament in Winnipeg February 3-5, 2017 and came away with a third place finish in the tournament.

File Photo | Courtesy of Rob McDonald

The third place game was played against Steinbach Christian High School. We had played a very intense and up-tempo game in the semi-final earlier in the afternoon and we had a tough time finding our legs early in this one. Steinbach Christian is a hard-working group with a couple of guys with some good size, active in the rebounding game and could jump out of the gym. Coupled with a couple of quick guards who could shoot the ball well and we had our hands full. They jumped out to a lead early in the game and held it throughout the first half and we went into the break with a 45 – 39 deficit. The third quarter did not change much and we found ourselves down by as many as 15 at one point. We started to find some stability offensively and got some stops on defense to put us within reach down the stretch and a timely 3 point shot in the final 30 seconds tied the game at 77 after regulation. We went into the overtime period with a little momentum and scored the first 4 points of the extra period, but our opponents were not going to roll over and came back. We held a two point lead going into the last few seconds of the overtime, but gave up a layup in the dying seconds that tied the game and sent us into a second overtime period. The second overtime was similar to the first where we scored the couple of buckets. The score went back and forth in the last couple of minutes and with a couple of free throws we held a 3 point lead going into the final possession. We did give up a late two, but with a three point lead a good decision down the stretch allowed us to hold on for a one point victory, 97 – 96. We had a tired, but satisfied team at the end of the day. We had five players scoring in double digits in that game with Riley Munro experiencing his best offensive output of the season leading the team with 24 points. Michael Chartrand 29th 18, David Muller with 16, Chase Ellingson with 14 and Tre Fleury with 13 rounded out the double digit scorers.

Earlier in the day, we played a semi-final game against the R.D. Parker Trojans from Thompson. They are always a strong, up-tempo, well-coached squad and they have themselves poised to challenge for Provincial Championship currently holding a #6 ranking in AAA Varsity Boys basketball. The game did not disappoint and our guys stepped up to the challenge and were ready to play. This was a fast-paced, focused and intense game. We worked hard and matched their effort throughout and saw ourselves in a tied game at the half, 37 – 37. We went into a scoring slump in the third quarter that allowed Thompson to pull ahead by 9 points at the end of the third. To their credit, our guys did not fold their tents scratching and clawing our way back again to give us a chance to tie the game at the end. Unfortunately, our comeback fell one bucket short and we lost by two, 67 – 65. We were definitely very happy with our effort in what was likely our best game of the year. Leading the scoring were David Muller with 23, Tyler Sherrer with 10, Chase Ellingson and Riley Munro each chipped in with 9.

Our opening tournament game was Friday evening against St. Norbert and going into the weekend we knew we would have to play well to get ourselves onto the A-Side of the draw. We opened well and a 1 point lead at the end of the first quarter was stretched to 11 at the half. We continued with steady play in the second half and carried through with a 64 – 57 win. Lead the scoring were David Muller, Chase Ellingson and Tyler Sherrer with 20, 14 and 14 respectively.

This was another successful weekend for our team not only from a win-loss perspective and taking the third place game in the tournament, but from the progress in our level of play. In the past three weekends, we have seen our play improve each week and I think we are starting to prove to ourselves that we are capable of playing with some of the top ranked teams in the province. We are starting to learn some lessons in the fact that we have to push the tempo and be ready to play at a fast pace. We will continue to work to get better everyday and put ourselves in a position to be playing our best basketball down the stretch and into the provincial qualifying period of the season.

After a busy three weeks, we have a couple of weeks off from tournament play before hosting the Kinsmen Tip-Off tournament on February 24th and 25th. Our next game action will be game #1 of the best of three zone playoff with Dauphin on Tuesday, February 21st in Dauphin.