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Both Muskie hoop squads clinch first

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The Muskies are bound for the NorWOSSA championship game.

Both the junior and senior teams clinched first place in their respective divisions courtesy of wins over the visiting Kenora Broncos yesterday.

The top-ranked team during the regular season is rewarded with an automatic bye into the three-team league’s final—which will be held next Thursday (Feb. 15) in Dryden.

As such, the Muskies now have the luxury of sitting back, relaxing, and awaiting the winner of the semi-final match-ups between the host Eagles and the Kenora Broncos earlier that day.

The Muskie juniors (5-1) punched their ticket into the final courtesy of their 37-31 win over the second-place Broncos (5-3) here.

“It was not our best game by any stretch of the imagination, we only scored 37 points, but we got the win,” head coach Gord McCabe remarked afterwards.

“It clinches first place for us and I’m happy with that, but we’ve been fighting our consistency for the last couple of weeks now and we have to start understanding that the basketball game last 32 minutes and we have to play for 32 minutes,” he stressed.

The Muskies built an early lead against the visiting Broncos and held a 18-11 advantage at the half.

But the black-and-gold struggled at the outset of the second half and were outscored 13-6 in the third quarter, allowing Kenora to tie the score at 24-24 heading into the final quarter.

Muskie standout Kurt Hill then stepped up for the home team in the final eight minutes of play, scoring five of his game-high 13 points to propel Fort High to the victory.

Meanwhile, the undefeated senior Muskie boys’ team (6-0) joined their junior counterparts in clinching a berth in next week’s NorWOSSA final with a 47-40 win over the second-place Broncos (3-5).

“It’s nice to clinch the league because you get that bye into the NorWOSSA league final,” head coach Paul Noonan said. “We’re pleased with that.

“As far as the game today [Tuesday], I thought that [we] played very well defensively.”

The Muskies seemed to have the game well in hand, leading 29-18 at the half, but the Broncos went on a 7-0 run early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to six points heading into the final quarter.

The black-and-gold recovered in the final frame, however, outscoring the Broncos 10-7—including a Scott Gurski three-pointer late in the game—to seal the win.

Both the junior and senior boys’ basketball teams return to NorWOSSA action tomorrow when they travel to Dryden to take on the Eagles.

Then they will wrap up regular-season play here next Tuesday (Feb. 13) against those same Eagles to make up matches cancelled last month due to inclement weather.

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