With the school volleyball season over, athletes are transitioning their focus to the basketball courts with the school season kicking off this month.
Aside from a few regular season games ahead of the holiday break, the Yukon Schools Athletic Association (YSAA) started the season with an early bird three-on-three tournament across the city on Friday.
With separate divisions by age and gender, three schools hosted the tournaments for the high school athletes hoping to get some training in before the season kicks into high gear in the new year.
The Grade 8 tournament took place at Porter Creek Secondary School with the Grades 9 and 10 taking over Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
F.H. Collins Secondary School was home to 11 boy’s teams and four girl’s teams for the afternoon of competition.
Coaches and YSAA staff were spread out throughout the three schools for the games to organize the tournaments, also providing a chance to scout out the players on the other teams they will soon be facing.
There wasn’t a limit for teams per school and players could just show up as long as they had a team of at least three players ready to go.
Games were played in a half court style so two games could take place at the same time and allowing for the five-minute games to remain high-paced without the smaller teams having to constantly run the length of the court.
Teams played round-robin games with the teams with the best records advancing to the finals.
On the boy’s side it was a team from Porter Creek taking on a Crusaders squad – a rematch of the same schools who had a fierce rivalry during the recent volleyball season with the Rams taking the Yukon Championships on the same F.H. Collins court less than a month earlier.
And this final game was as tight as most of those volleyball matches with the Crusaders three falling behind quickly but staying close, able to tie up the game with less than a minute to go to force overtime.
Unsure of how to structure the overtime, organizers decided to play another five-minute period.
The hard-fought battle went back and forth with the Rams again pulling out in front before some great long-distance shots by the Crusaders to again force a tie as the buzzer rang.
Not wanting to play another full overtime period, the officials declared a three-point shot competition with one athlete shooting for each team.
Both teams missed their first shots before the Crusaders sunk a three to take the final.
The regular season for the senior teams will officially begin Jan. 11 at Porter Creek with F.H. Collins paying a visit in Super Hoops action followed by the Crusaders and the Rams on Jan. 12.
Last year on the girl’s side, the Warriors went undefeated during the season to win both the Super Hoops and territorial titles.
The Crusaders will be heading into the boy’s season with six straight Yukon Championships after beating the Rams in last season’s final.
But before the season begins after the holiday break, all of the school teams will be heading to Skagway, Alaska for an international showdown against Alaska high school basketball teams.