Despite a late start to the season, Skeena’s Grade 8 Girls Basketball went into the 2012/13 Northwest Zones, hosted at Prince Rupert Middle School on Feb. 9, 2013, ranked number one in the league and ended up winning zones.
The team struggled with finding a coach at the beginning of the year until Skeena’s Athletic Director, Frank Marrelli, phoned Toni and Kevin Nisyok and asked them to volunteer to coach the girls. The Nisyok’s had a difficult decision to make as almost 30 girls turned out for the first of three tryouts.
“We tried to ween out players by running the girls hard at the first two session, however, they all kept up with the work outs and attended the third session,” said Toni Nisyok. “It was very hard to have to drop 14 girls.”
The 15 girls that made the squad won seven out of eight games throughout the year, earning their first ranked spot and heading into zones feeling confident.
The zones were set up as a one day event, meaning a “Five Team Single Elimination” tournament format. The five teams to attend were: Prince Rupert Middle School (PRMS), Mount Elizabeth Senior Secondary (MESS), Hazelton, Skeena Middle School (SMS), and Smithers Senior Secondary. The first game saw MESS versus Hazelton at 9:30 a.m. with MESS winning that game. PRMS had the second game against Smithers – with PRMS advancing to the finals.
Skeena Middle School played their game at 12:30 p.m. against MESS, a well-fought game with SMS winning 38-26.
Brittany Peden was the leading scorer with 14 points, followed by Emma Kenmuir with six points; Shivohn Peters dropped four points; and Ashley Nisyok, Michaela Barton, Brianna Ouellet, Megan Bellamy, Marrick Zips, Briana Greer and Caitlyn Amyotte all dropped one bucket to help the team advance to the finals, set for 3:30 p.m later that day.
“We knew it was going to be PRMS that we met in the finals” said coach Toni. “The girls were pretty tense about the game so we sat outside the gym in a huddle to talk this over,” she said, noting that to keep spirits calm she even joked about letting them cream the coaches with pie if the team won.
“It was all fun and games,” she said. “During the warm up the girls were giggling and asking what kind of pie I liked. I was happy to see them so relaxed. I knew they would come out hard.”
Skeena started with Pedan, Kenmuir, Zips, Peters and Nisyok. The girls were told that the subbing would be coming hard and fast so to give it their all – which they did. The starting line up took off with Kenmuir scoring the first bucket and Peden scoring the second before PRMS got on the board. But Skeena pressed on and the score for the first quarter was 10-2 for the Terrace team.
The first half ended with SMS outscoring PRMS 22-6, basically putting them out of reach from this point on. The third quarter continued with SMS scoring 12 points to PRMS’ three, making the score 34-11. Nisyok slowed the girls down in the third quarter for a final score of 40-17 for SMS.
“Kevin and I just want to thank all the girls for their hard work and dedication,” said Nisyok. “It really showed in the finals. We were so proud to be a part of this team. We really enjoyed working with you.”