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Day 6 Recap: Defending Senior Division champs knocked out of All Native Tourney

Field narrowed to 18 teams on Thursday; two semi-finals on the schedule for today

It was moving day at the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert Feb. 16 including the surprising movement of the defending Senior Division champions out of the tournament.

On Thursday, Gitxaala (Kitkatla), who went undefeated in 2022 and won the final handily against a strong Metlakatla, AK was no match for Similkameen who bounced the top-ranked team last night 84 - 50.

Gitxaala may have been hampered by the absence of 2022 Seniors Division MVP Jacob Thom, who, while on the roster for the week, was unable to attend due to coaching obligations.

Similkameen was relegated to the elimination bracket by second-seeded Skidegate, but has since eliminated Haisla (Kitamaat), Heiltsuk (Bella Bella), Prince Rupert and Gitxaala. They play Lax Kw’alaams today (Feb. 17) at 11 a.m. If they win that game they will still have to get by third-ranked Massett and the winner of Skidegate and Burnaby, who play this afternoon, for a berth in the final.

Meanwhile, on the Women’s side of the competition on Day 6, defending champions Vancouver were relegated to the elimination bracket by Haisla (Kitamaat) in an exciting matchup that ended 55 - 52.

It was a tight game in the early going, but Haisla started to open a gap by the end of the second. At the half it was 29 - 23. The third quarter was more of the same with Vancouver struggling to put the ball through the hoop to find themselves down 14 points going into the final frame.

But the top-ranked team would bear down in the fourth, stepping up the defence and making a run and closing the gap to 53-48 with just over a minute to go. Following a Haisla basket, a Vancouver free-throw and three-pointer brought them within three with 10 seconds on the clock.

The women from the Lower Mainland got the ball into the right hands to take the shot from beyond to arc. Perennial all-star Adelia Paul, who is generally sharp from three-point range managed to get the ball in the air for a potential buzzer-beater, but it was blocked.

While Haisla was unranked coming into the week, it should come as no surprise they were able to knock down the defending champions. Prior to Vancouver winning it all last year, the Haisla women were the champions three years running in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

In the evening draw, however, they would fall into the elimination bracket to second-ranked Similkameen, who also beat Laxgalts’ap (Greenville) and Hesquiaht en route to a berth in the final tomorrow (Feb. 18) at 1 p.m.

Haisla still has an opportunity for a rematch as they await the winner of Vancouver and Laxgalts’ap, who are currently on the floor in the arena at Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

In Masters Division play, yesterday, the first of the two finalists was decided as top-ranked Gitmidiik knocked Prince Rupert down to a semi final with the winner of Skidegate and Hydaburg AK, who are also currently on the court in the main gym.

Perennial favourites Hydaburg, who held the Masters title for five straight years from 2015 to 2019 got off to a rough start losing their opening round game to Gitxsan, but have since easily wound their way through the elimination bracket knocking off Nuxalk (Bella Coola), Gitga’at (Hartley Bay), Massett and second-seeded Gitwinksihlkw.

The Intermediate Division also crowned its first finalist on Day 6. This time, it was the hometown favourite Prince Rupert Cubs who came away with the W, defeating Heiltsuk 75-52.

The Cubs await the winner of the other semi-final, which will be contested between Heiltsuk and the winner of tonight’s Lax Kw’alaams Gitxsan matchup.

FEBRUARY 16, 2023, Complete Results

WOMEN’S DIVISION

All games were played in the arena

8 a.m. Gitmidiik 66 vs Prince Rupert 55

Top Scorers

Gitmiiik - Connie Johnson and Auzia Gonu - 13

PR- Natalie Harris - 20

11 a.m. Haisla 55 vs Vancouver 52

Top Scorers

Haisla - Mikkeila Ridsdale - 15

Vancouver - Shenise Sigsworth - 21

2:30 p.m. Hesquiaht vs 64 Laxgalts’ap 68

Top Scorers

Hesquiaht - Jada Touche and Destiny Hanson - 17

Laxgalts’ap - Braelyn Moore - 26

6:30 p.m. Haisla 52 vs Similkameen 59

Top Scorers

Haisla - McKenna Stevens - 19

Similkameen - Jade Montgomery-Waardenburg - 19

9:30 p.m. Gitmidiik 47 vs Vancouver 58

Top Scorers (to come)

INTERMEDIATE DIVISION

All games were played in the main gym

8 a.m. Gitmidiik 79 vs Laxgalts’ap 73

Top Scorers

Gitmidiik - Matthew Clayton - 26

Laxgalts’ap - Ethan Clayton - 28

9:30 a.m. Lax Kw’alaams 95 vs Gingolx - 56

Top Scorers

Lax Kw’alaams - Lloyd Dudoward - 23

Gingolx - Edward Azak - 21

11 a.m. Prince Rupert 75 vs Heiltsuk 52

Top Scorers

PR - Rylan Adams - 42

Heiltsuk - Blake Landsdowne - 22

4 p.m. Gitmidiik 76 vs Gitxsan 81

Top Scorers

Gitmidiik - Matthew Clayton - 23

Gitxsan - Kalem Wilson - 28

SENIORS DIVISION

All games were played in the main gym

1 p.m. Gitxsan 66 vs Lax Kw’alaams 69

Gitxsan - Kaimen Starr - 17

Lax Kw’alaams - Kaine Wesley - 16

2:30 p.m. Similkameen 84 vs Prince Rupert 67

Top Scorers

Similkameen - Treyton Waardenburg - 21

PR- John Sampson - 23

8 p.m. Lax Kw’alaams 80 vs Gingolx 63

Top Scorers

Lax Kw’alaams - Kaine Wesley - 14

Gingolx - Dan Stewart - 22

9:30 p.m. Similkameen 84 vs Gitxaala 50

Top Scorers (to come)

MASTERS DIVISION

All games will be played in the arena

9:30 a.m. Hydaburg 81 Massett 67

Top Scorers

Hydaburg - D - 27

Massett - Jordan Williams - 26

1 p.m. Skidegate vs Gitxsan

Top Scorers

Skidegate - David Ryan - 21

Gitxsan - Darren Forgey - 14

4 p.m. Gitmidiik 73 vs Prince Rupert 67

Top Scorers

Gitmiiik - Gene Wolff - 21

PR- Brandon Sampson - 23

8 p.m. Gitwinksihlkw 71 vs Hydaburg 97

Top Scorers

Gitwinksihlkw - Charles Adams - 19

Hydaburg - TJ Young - 22



Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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