It was a great start to the 2019/2020 Fort Frances Men's League Basketball Season on Thursday at Fort High, with lots of returning players and a number of new faces.
The early game featured the Muskies squaring off against the RBC Lions, which turned out to be a tight opening game.
RBC was missing several of its big guns, leaving Corey Smith to lead the way with 19 points and carry the load for his team with his usual tenacious effort.
Neither team seemed to get into a rhythm throughout the game and the scores were low and possession changes often. The Muskies were able to eke out a slim 40-38 victory, with Mike Vanderaa leading the way from long range with 15 points.
He also had solid help from a deeper bench and lineup that did just enough to earn the win.
Up next was a showdown between the defending champ Revco Renegades and BDO Ballerz.
Revco jumped out to an early 8-0 lead before BDO started taking advantage of the younger squad who had suited up. Jeff Campbell was red-hot from the three-point line with four threes in the first half and helped push BDO to a comfortable lead by halftime.
The Renegades played better in the second half, however, with DJ Payne finishing with 14 points and Brad Wardas distributing the ball and chipping in with 11 , but it wasn't enough to stop a very balanced scoring effort by BDO, which took this game with a decisive 83-49 win.
Toby Munro, Campbell, and Jordan Lavallee all scored 22 points each for the Ballerz while Rob McGinnis added 19 and Greg Alistair put in a solid effort in his league debut.
The final game of the evening featured Sunset Landscaping taking on Arctic Cat. This contest featured great long range shooting from both squads from start to finish.
Arctic Cat had the deeper bench and used it to its advantage against Sunset, who suited up only five players. Morgan Anderson led the way for Arctic Cat with 16 points with Monte Gubbels and Justin Anderson each chipping in 14 to pace their squad to a 77-67 win.
Sunset relied heavily on the shifty Josh Mastin who poured in 37 points and Cody Johnson, who finished with 19. Johnson showed little regard for the three-point line and bombed several “treys" from what can only be described as "another area code.”
A late turnover on an inbound play, and a lack of substitutes, eventually made the difference in the game as Johnson and Mastin ran out of gas late as Arctic Cat was able to nail down the win.
Action will resume this Thursday, with the Muskies taking on the Ballerz at 6:40 p.m. in the early game.
RBC then will take on Arctic Cat at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunset versus Revco showdown to follow at 8:30.