All good things must come to an end—and on April 25, there was a great ending to a really good season for the Fort Frances Men's League Basketball.
With the biggest crowd of fans of the year on hand, third-seeded Arctic Cat faced off against top seed RRFN to see who would take home the championship.
Arctic Cat came out with a quick start on a basket by Paul Smart and jumped out to an early 7-2 lead.
RRFN failed to get its offence clicking initially but things picked up when Rob McGinnis started heating up and draining “threes.”
He had four in the first half alone, which helped RRFN tie things up at 16-16 before pulling away to end the first half with a 39-28 lead.
Kobi Ward, meanwhile, provided more than half of Arctic Cat's offence in the first 20 minutes as he scored 15 of his team-high 28 points in the first half.
Just like the first half, Arctic Cat came out flying after the break and put together a really nice 11-2 run on the strength of some good shooting by Braedon Caul (13 points) and Jake McIntosh (14).
Their efforts brought Arctic Cat to within two points but that was as close as they came.
Sam Soderman, who started out somewhat slowly, eventually began heating up and put in some great put-backs, as well as floating lay-ups, to help RRFN pull away with a 10+ point lead.
Every time Arctic Cat closed the gap, ageless wonder McGinnis again popped in another “three” to stop their comeback.
It seemed like he was reverting back to his 21-year-old self, and everyone both on and off the court was impressed by his laser shots.
McGinnis ended the night with a game high seven three-pointers and a season-high 27 points.
While everyone on Arctic Cat had made it onto the scoreboard early, fan favorite Trevor Martin from RRFN again waited until the end to make his mark, which he did with a nice spin-around lay-up.
The final score was 85-66 for RRFN.
The sportsmanship and team play from all involved was real encouraging to see, and it was fitting that the best team of the regular season won the championship (and the medals that went along with it).
There also was a chance to hand out some special Most Encouraging Teammate awards to those players who did a great job of “coaching, offering advice, staying positive, and just being all around nice guys!”
Recipients included Wally Tabash (BDO), Dave Petsnick (Revco), Cody Johnson (Sunset Landscaping), Kevin Gemmell (RRFN), and Jeff Nelson (Arctic Cat).
There was lots of food at the pizza party afterwards, and it was a fun way to end the season.
A big thanks to all who came out and made this year a success, including our main ref, Toby Munro, and Trevor and Josh for being faithful scorekeepers.
Thanks also to everyone who returned their jerseys (only a few are still out there), which we look forward to using again next season.
Enjoy the summer off and we look forward to seeing all those who can make it back in the fall.
Start-up likely will be mid-October and we'll wrap up the season a bit earlier next year so we don't lose as many players down the stretch.
Any suggestions or comments are appreciated so just pass them along.
It has been a privilege to serve (but I will enjoy the break).