Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

SPLITS THE DEFENCE – Porter Creek Rams guard Kiiwaadin Swan powers through the Vanier Crusader defence during first-half Yukon Championship action at Porter Creek on Thursday evening.

Rams outlast Crusaders in title game

In the final game of the high school basketball season two familiar foes took the court against each other on Thursday night at Porter Creek Secondary School.

By John Tonin on March 13, 2020

In the final game of the high school basketball season two familiar foes took the court against each other on Thursday night at Porter Creek Secondary School.

The Vanier Crusaders were looking to make it nine straight Yukon Championship wins in a row. Standing in their way was the Porter Creek Rams – the Superhoop champions.

Porter Creek overcame a double-digit deficit and took control of the game in the final minutes to put an end to Vanier’s Yukon Champs reign winning 79-69.

The game was much closer than the 10-point spread the final score indicates.

Heading into the fourth and final quarter, the Crusaders were up by four, 55-51.

The teams traded baskets to begin the frame. The Rams took the lead 62-61 off a layup in traffic by Kiiwaadin Swan.

Vanier retook the lead on back-to-back threes by Josh Rumbaoa and Josh Apostel but the advantage was short lived.

With 3:30 remaining the score was tied at 67 apiece. Vanier’s offence went dry while the Rams forced the issue and got to the foul line.

The Rams hit their free-throws at a decent rate and pushed their advantage to 75-67. Vanier got a basket back but Cole Robulak and Broden Cull each made two huge buckets at the end to ice the game.

Even in the tense moments of the second half when the game could have gone either way, Swan said the team remained confident.

“Our coach (Paul MacDonald) always has a plan for us,” said Swan. “We just listened to him and it worked out for us. It was cut to the basket, get a wide open layup and if not pass the ball out and shoot the ball.”

Swan acknowledged the team opposite and said they gave them a fight.

“They gave it there all,” said Swan. “But we played out hearts out and we played good D and played good offence, we played our hearts out too.”

Only in his Grade 11 year, Swan said the Yukon Champs, plus Superhoops were the first titles he’s won, he was left without words.

“I can’t even explain how I’m feeling right now,” said Swan.

Porter Creek was a force all season and Swan said in his senior year he is looking forward to running it back and making a run at more championships.

It was a packed and energetic building and the early play in the first quarter mimicked the atmosphere in the gym. The pace was frantic, bodies hit the floor for loose balls and the teams struggled to find their offence early.

Using a stifling press, Vanier was able to pull ahead first and maintained a lead throughout the first half. The Crusaders went into the halftime break up 39-33.

The Crusaders got hot from behind the arc after the break and they lead by as many as 13 points in the third stanza.

However, Porter Creek stuck to their game plan and cut into the deficit only trailing by four heading into the fourth, where they would eventually take control.

After the medals were handed out, the Yukon Championship all star team was named. F.H. Collins Warriors guard Ralph Hermosa, Rumbaoa, Swan, Cull, and Vanier’s Christian Miral were named to the team.

Tournament Most Valuable Player was Aiman Salim.

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