The Oscars and Ookapiks basketball teams welcomed high schools from around the region this past weekend as North Peace Secondary School hosted the NPSS Chinook Classic Jan. 25 and 26.
Junior and senior girls’ and boys’ teams from Dawson Creek, Grande Prairie and Fort Nelson visited NPSS for the weekend to take on the dominant Fort St. John teams, but no one could challenge NPSS’ senior girls and boys’ teams as they went undefeated in the tournament.
“It went really well, they played well as a team, they were really attacking and playing a tough defence,” said NPSS’ senior girls’ coach Ryan Leclair.
The senior girls’ team narrowly defeated Dawson Creek Secondary School 44-34, but dominated the rest of the teams, beating Fort Nelson 48-12, the NPSS junior girls 65-45 and Grande Prairie Comp 60-26.
“We always seem to play Dawson pretty tough, that first game was pretty close,” Leclair said. “The other games were a bit easier, but we’re always working on things.”
The senior boys’ team, perhaps one of the most dominant basketball teams in Northern B.C. and Alberta, also went undefeated, which they were expecting.
“We didn’t have any competition,” said Oscars’ coach Mike Redford. “We were getting our Grade 11s a little more experience and getting them some more playing time when we could. They played really well. A lot of the Grade 11s put in a lot of really solid performances.”
NPSS opened the tourney against Grande Prairie Composite’s junior boys’ team and took the decisive 73-47 victory. Fort Nelson was another gimme at 100-49, but it was DCSS who the Oscars expected to put up a bit of a fight as one of the better teams in the region.
Even though DCSS opened scoring in the game on Saturday, NPSS dominated the scoreboard in the first half, running up the score 66-21 after 20 minutes.
“The first half was like my Oilers,” said DCSS’ coach Rich Payne, laughing. “ A little spectating, but our half court was good. After the first quarter and half of the first half, we were back in it. They only scored 10 points here and were at 66 at half, so they didn’t double us.”
“You can pick some positives out of it. The depth and seniority they have over us, that’s a lot of Grade 12s over there.”
Redford conceded that DCSS is a good regional team that battled back in the second half of the game, but he chose to run his Grade 11s and work on their defence with point guard Miles Savard on the court leading the way.
“That last game against Dawson, Miles Savard our point guard ran with all Grade 11s and they all played really great,” Redford said.
For NPSS’ junior girls, the weekend was more about getting some experience, as they dropped their games to older teams, finishing the tournament with a close 59-51 loss to DCSS on Saturday in front of a home crowd.
Tournament MVPs went to NPSS players Miles Savard and Pam Sandberg.
“It’s always nice having friends and family out,” Redford said about hosting the tournament. “The school got to see some of the games and support us which was nice, some of our teachers were out, too, including the principal. It was pretty great.”
The senior boys will travel to Prince George this weekend for a tournament before joining the senior girls in Edmonton Feb. 8 and 9.