In a battle pitting Kenora’s speed and quickness against the Muskies’ height, it was the former which won out in a big way in the senior girls’ NorWOSSA basketball final here last Friday.
The Muskie offence, which relied heavily on its size underneath the basket to grab rebounds on both ends of the court, was non-existent in their most important game of the season as the Broncos ran away with a lopsided 51-21 victory.
“I expected Kenora to score 45 to 50 points, and they had 51, but it was such a disappointing way to finish the season,” Muskie co-coach Gord McCabe said. “But you have to give credit where credit is due and give Kenora full value—they played well.
“In reality, our senior team should have been ready but they just didn’t play very well,” he lamented. “Our top eight offensive players probably all had their worst offensive games of the year.
“The game was just a nightmare.”
When all those players suddenly turn cold in a championship game, the odds certainly are not in your favour, and the Muskies were never really in the game even though they trailed by just 10-6 after the first quarter.
But the wheels fells off in the second quarter when they were outscored 18-4 to trail 28-10 at halftime.
“We just weren’t executing and we played with just too much desperation, and then the wheels fell off in the second quarter,” McCabe noted. “We were reaching for too many balls on defence and we looked tired.
“I felt we needed to get a big run in the first quarter and we never had that,” he added.
Instead, it was Kenora that had a big run in the second stanza, taking the ball to the hoop to make an easy lay-up or draw a foul. And when the Muskies did block the inside underneath, the Broncos pushed the ball outside and had a decent day shooting from the perimeter.
Meanwhile, the Muskies were error-prone for much of the game, turning the ball over several times and clearly unable to cope with Kenora’s speed and quickness. McCabe felt part of that sluggishness stemmed from the fact the team missed practice last Wednesday and Thursday due to the snowstorm.
Still, McCabe was optimistic the girls’ senior program has turned the corner (going 6-0 in NorWOSSA exhibition play this season and 9-1 overall)—and expects his lineup to dominate next year.
“I told the girls before the game that no matter what happens, I was very, very proud of this team because I think they made a lot of progress this year,” he noted.
“The program is certainly on the upswing,” he stressed.