The fourth annual York City Classic basketball tournament graced the YRHS and SHHS gymnasiums with its presence this past weekend with all proceeds, some $700.00, being raised for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Twelve teams from throughout the province took part over the two day tournament, with each team playing four games, two Friday and two Saturday, culminating with the finals on Saturday evening at 5:50p.m.
In the finals the Weyburn Eagles held off the late charge of the St. Mary Marauders, defeating the Marauders 81-75 despite leading by as many as 20 points throughout the game. Weyburn now joins the prestigious list of York City champions, joining the likes of Aden Bowman (2011), North Battleford (2012) and their 2014 finals opponent St. Mary (2013).
Both the YRHS and SHHS senior boys basketball teams also put forth fairly strong efforts, with the Raiders going 2-2, while the Saints went 1-3 despite playing some very good basketball.
The Raiders’ two wins came in the form of a 66-48 victory over the Moosomin McNaughton Marquis and a 59-44 win in the ‘B’ side consolation game against their Yorkton rivals from Sacred.
Sacred’s lone win of the tournament, meanwhile, saw them play a complete game against North Battleford in which David Ojo was a block away from a triple-double. Ojo finished the game with 20 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocks, while Carter Ruff also picked up a double-double as he scored 27 points while hauling down 10 boards.
Garrett Karcha, head coach of the SHHS senior boys basketball team, thought his team played well at times, such as in the victory over North Battleford.
However Karcha says there were some inconsistencies that he believes hurt his team in the long run. “We showed some inconsistency on offence which is never a good thing,” said Karcha, continuing, “But this is our first tournament in a few weeks so to come out for the first game (70-48 loss to Melfort) was a tough one.
“Then we had a good bounce-back game against North Battleford. We also have a decent game against Moose Jaw Vanier. We came back being down a big deficit and the guys showed something. Even against the Regional there was a point where there was a wall and we almost went through it. We pushed and pushed but couldn’t get through it but overall I seen that the team is not willing to quit on any game. We need to be more consistent though. We go on these lulls where we get a little inconsistent and we need to improve that.”
Meanwhile Raiders head coach Jason Payne felt that his team, although young, showed signs of improvement over the weekend, but also had lapses in concentration, saying: “We played well in spots. Our last game we played fairly well for the most of it. With a young team you’re learning how to win and what the price is that you have to pay to do so and sometimes we’re good at that. Other times, however, we don’t realize that we can’t let off the gas.”
'B' side consolation
Both teams would have rather they met on different terms, but the YRHS Raiders and SHHS Saints senior boys basketball teams still faced one another in basketball action at the York City Classic.
The Raiders opened the game on a 7-0 run and it looked like the Saints would be in for a rough time before Carter Ruff got his team on the board with a basket.
The Saints then outscored their Gladstone Avenue neighbours 12-5 to take a 14-12 lead in to the second quarter.
In the second quarter Peter Kozushka, the big, powerful Raiders centre, showed why he was on the team, overpowering the smaller Saints players and leading his team to a 29-23 lead at the midway point of the game.
The Saints offence, which had only scored nine points in the second quarter, continued to struggle in the third while the Raiders offence continued to build up momentum. The Raiders opened the second half on a 9-0 run, outscoring the Saints 17-6 in the third quarter for a 46-29 lead.
Sacred Heart outscored the Regional 15-13 in the final quarter, but despite the 16 points but Carter Ruff, fell 59-44 in the 'B' side consolation.
Saints head coach Garrett Karcha noted that the two Yorkton teams are "very evenly matched" but that it was more of a fatigue issue that cost his team the game. "I think guys were getting a little gassed today," mentioned Karcha. "Jason does a good job in rolling his team out there, rolling some lines, and I kind of play my starters a bit. So we had a little bit of fatigue which might have factored in the game."
Boost Juice Shootout
There was also a competition within the tournament over the weekend. Each team was able to select their most proficient three-point shooter to take part in what is known as 'The Booster Juice Three Point Shootout".
Last year's shootout champion, Moosomin's Austin Jones, hit 18 three-pointers in one minute.
And while the record of 18 wasn't broken, there was one person to hit double digits.
Raiders guard Alex Popoff made his team happy, winning each member a free Booster Juice as well as earning a $50.00 iTunes card as he hit 11 three-pointers, four more than Melfort's Lee Taylor, Carlton's Julian Bird and Weyburn's Rhett Williams.
Popoff's performance in the Booster Juice Three-point Shootout was made more spectacular due to the fact that the grade 11 guard had struggled from beyond the arc all season long before finally getting on track during the York City Classic. "I think it was kind of ironic because he had never hit a three-pointer in a game before," said Payne. "He was 0-for-19 going into the game on Friday night and then he hit his first one so we decided to put him in the shootout
"Hitting 11 is getting in a good rhythm and it really showed that he has a good stroke. It was a good performance."
The Regional Raiders will be back at it this weekend when they travel to Prince Albert for a tournament hosted by the York City Classic 'A' side runners up the St. Mary Crusaders.
Sacred Heart, meanwhile, will travel to Lumsden for a two day tournament.