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Vianets repeat as hoop champs

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Vianets completed a near perfect season Monday night with their second-straight Fort Frances Men’s Basketball League title.

The top team during the regular season, Vianets (14-1) earned a hard-fought 61-48 win over a very game La Place Rendez-Vous squad (11-4).

“Obviously we’re feeling great,” Vianets’ captain Adrian Chapman enthused moments after the win.

“We have a great team and we have a lot of fun,” he added. “That’s what this league is really about—having a great time—and I think everyone does.

“I hope to continue it from year to year with the Vianets.”

The final certainly began in less-than-ideal fashion for the defending champs as the Vous jumped out to an early 7-2 lead.

Vianets went on a mini-run midway through the first half to close the gap, but they still trailed 23-22 after 20 minutes of play.

The second half remained a tightly-contested affair until the final five minutes when Vianets’ inside-out offence began to click.

Paced by some strong inside scoring from Chapman and centre Steve Ash, as well as some timely outside shooting from John Sivonen and Rob McGinnis, Vianets seized control of the contest—building an insurmountable 10-point lead in the waning minutes.

Chapman led the second-half offensive barrage for Vianets with 20 of his game-high 26 points.

“I think that was actually one of the better games all year,” he remarked.

“The Vous came out really strong and we only pulled away right at the very end,” Chapman added. “I was happy that we had such a challenging game against them.”

Despite coming up a little bit short in the final, Vous captain Paul Noonan was pleased with his team’s performance, noting they just couldn’t keep an offensively-gifted Vianets’ squad in check for the entire 40 minutes.

“They outsized us so we tried to keep them out of the paint and that was what we were doing with our 1-2-2 zone,” Noonan explained.

“That worked in the first half pretty well. In fact, we had the one-point advantage at halftime.

“But John [Sivonen] started hitting a few shots from the outside, so we had to start going out to guard that a little bit and they started to figure out how to go inside-out on us,” Noon added.

“To be realistic, they weren’t hitting a lot of their shots in the first half, shots they normally make,” he said. “So it ended that their good shooters finally came through for them and that made the difference.”

Earlier Monday evening, the Fort High Muskies (6-9) won the consolation final in convincing fashion—thrashing an under-manned Taggs squad (0-15) by a score of 105-56.

A major factor in the lopsided score was the fact Taggs competed with just four players.

Muskie forward Morgan Anderson led all scorers with 34 points, including an impressive eight three-pointers, while Todd Richards paced Taggs with 24 points.

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