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Wolfpack takes second at Cager

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, March 5, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Despite a promising start the Wolfpack U-19 boys' team came just short of winning their division at the NWT Power Corp Senior Basketball Cager.

The team, composed of nine players from Thomas Simpson school in Fort Simpson and one from Tulita, placed second at the competition that was held in Yellowknife from Feb. 27 to March 1. The team started strong by winning their first two games.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

The Thomas Simpson school Wolfpack U19 boys' team took second in their division at the NWT Power Corp Senior Basketball Cager in Yellowknife. Team members included, from left, back row: coach Alex Campbell, Jeff McKay, Charles Gargan, Teyen Menicoche, Calen Hardisty and coach Kristen Morrison; front row: Thomas Roche, Steven Boutilier and Anthony Roche. Missing are Lief Amundson, Riley Berreault and Troy Enfield. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

"The first two games they played awesome as a team. They all contributed," said Kristen Morrison, who coached the team together with Alex Campbell.

The Wolfpack won 87-36 against the St. Pats White team from Yellowknife and 73-35 against Hay River.

The team's standing, however, fell when they lost their next two games against Yellowknife teams St. Pats Green and Sir John. The losses were partially because the team lost a strong player, Thomas Roche, who was sidelined by a sprained ankle, said Morrison.

The Wolfpack rallied, however, and came back to beat St. Pats Green when they met again on the court in the semi-finals. Down 10 points going into the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack surged to pull ahead and win 58-53.

During the game three players got double doubles including Calen Hardisty with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Lief Amundson with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Riley Berreault with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The game, however, cost the team another player, Steven Boutilier, to an injury.

At that point all that stood between the Wolfpack and the division title was the final game against the Sir John team.

The Wolfpack, however, ran into trouble with fouls during the final, said Morrison.

After scoring 18 points and 19 rebounds, almost all in the first half of the game, Riley Berreault had to be kept on the bench. Berreault had been an important player all weekend and when the other team saw him on the bench they started to attack, said Morrison.

With only seven players remaining the team began to wear down.

"We ran out of energy," she said.

The Wolfpack lost to Sir John by more than a 10 point spread.

During the game Lief Amundson took another double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Teyen Menicoche scored 28 points and eight rebounds.

For Amundson, Calen Hardisty and Anthony Roche the game was the last one of their high school careers.

Going out in first place would have been nice, but getting second was still pretty good, said Hardisty.

Overall, the team had a strong defensive zone, which made it hard for opposing teams to bring in the ball, forcing them to make outside shots, said Hardisty. The team was also good at passing the ball and putting in baskets, he said.

Riley Berreault was also an asset to the team.

"He played excellent," said Hardisty.

In addition to the U-19 boys' team, Thomas Simpson also sent a number of female basketball players to the Cager who joined with teams from Hay River.

Shelagh Byatt, Amanda Burrill, Marissa Isaiah and Tanis Browning played on the U-19 team while Destiny Nahanni and Julia dePelham played on the U-15 team. Both teams finished in fourth place in their divisions, said Morrison.

"The girls played hard the whole weekend and each game they improved," she said.