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It was a heartbreaking finish for the Det’on Cho Logistics Eagles girls basketball team as they lost the bronze medal match in overtime at the Wolves Senior High Basketball Classic in Grande Prairie last weekend.

Taya Straker moves the ball up the court during Wolves classic action last week. photo courtesy of Benji Straker photography

The tournament started well for the Yellowknife high performance team as they took care of business beating EW Pratt out of High Level, Alta. in their opening game by a large margin of 53-27. However after that it was a tight weekend as they lost the semi’s narrowly losing to Menno Simons by a mere six points.

“That second game was actually the semi finals, so we lost that by six which I thought we easily could have won. We just had some missed lay-ups and some missed opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, so we found ourselves on the losing end, but easily could have won that,” said Aaron Wells, Eagles head coach.

The loss set the girls up for a bronze medal match against the hometown team of Charles Spencer High School. The game was neck and neck throughout and after last minute three point shots by both teams left the game even, the bronze medal match went into an extra period.

“The first quarter was kind of back and forth and then we kind of got in a whole in the second quarter by about 10 or 12 points, but the girls kept that gap going throughout the third and then in the fourth we went on a run and closed that gap,” said Wells. “Mali Straker hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds left to take the lead by three points, they came down and hit a three on us and then it went into overtime,”

The overtime period wouldn’t end well for the Yellowknife squad as the Eagles eventually dropped the match by single digit numbers. Despite not making the podium, Wells said the weekend was an overall success.

“Even though we finished one and two, losing the bronze medal game is a pretty big accomplishment,” said Wells.

The Wolves’ classic was the team’s second tournament of the year and after Well’s full squad went a winless 0-4 last month in Vancouver, he said the girl’s showed “drastic improvements” while missing several key members of the team.

“Three of our older players couldn’t come on this trip to Grande Prairie, so we were short handed to begin with,” said Wells. “It’s a senior high school tournament and we had two grade eight (players) on the team and a bunch of grade nine and ten (players), so we were fairly young.”

Moving forward Wells said his team now needs to focus on game management after losing out by narrow margins.

“This was the first time, this year anyway, that we’ve been in a situation where (we had) 17 seconds left and were up by a few points. The girls haven’t been in that situation yet and so knowing what to do in that situation, when we should be running the clock down or looking to foul and so there were some learning opportunities from that,” said Wells.

The team will work on closing out games as they look forward to their next tournament in Calgary next February.

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