Eight teams and over 100 athletes took to the basketball court this past weekend at the YRHS gymnasium to take part in the first ever York City Men’s Classic basketball tournament.
The ‘A’ side final saw the host Yorkton Cobras, a team made up of athletes from Yorkton and Melville, take on the Valley Villains, a team based out of Fort Qu’Appelle that boasted stars such as Regina Cougars centre Wesley Jones (6’8”, 240 pounds) and Thomas Kay.
The Cobras made it to the final by beating the Springside Boom in round one before dispatching the Moosomin Monstars in the semi-finals.
Valley, meanwhile, crushed Estevan in the first round before needing overtime to defeat a tough Regina Assassins squad 87-83.
The Valley Villains got the best of the hometown Yorkton Cobras in the championship game, taking the inaugural York City Men’s Classic final 81-65 despite Yorkton leading by as many as three early on.
Both Thomas Kay and Wesley Jones picked up double-doubles for the Villains in the win.
Kay scored 16 points and picked up 12 rebounds while the monstrous Jones scored 12 points and hauled down a team high 13 boards to go with six blocked shots.
Mike Redman led all Villains in scoring with 25 points as he went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc while Yorkton’s own Kevin Peepeetch came back to town to win a title registering seven points and eight rebounds in the Villains victory.
Dan Alspach led all players in the game in scoring with 30 points in a losing effort for the Cobras while Samuel Twumasi also hit double figures in scoring with 10 points to go with seven rebounds and four steals.
While losing never feels good, Alspach, 35, felt that it was worth it just to play in a tournament relatively close to home. “More than anything it’s fun to play in your own backyard,” offered an exhausted Alspach after the final game. “Every year we put a group of guys into the Provincial tournament in Regina and have for almost a dozen years but for now it’s kind of neat to have some of the local people have a chance to watch you play.”
Alspach then went on to explain that the team was more or less assembled through Wednesday night drop-in basketball at the Gloria Hayden and that although winning is great, the main object is to have fun.”
But while the main idea for the Cobras was to have fun while playing competitive basketball, Jason Payne, one of the organizers of the tournament along with Garrett Karcha, felt that the tournament was just that: Competitive. “I think it was a success from a competitive stand point for sure,” said Payne. “We had the starting centre for the Regina Cougars playing on the Valley Villains. Regina had a former CIS all-star on their team and the Springside Boom were going to have the starting centre for the Saskatchewan Huskies men’s team but he unfortunately hurt himself two days before the tournament.
“There were a lot of really good players and that’s not even considering all the solid local players that we have as well.”
Payne went on to say that while the tournament is currently just an eight team men’s tournament, in the future both he and Karcha hope to see it expand to a 16 team tournament with an eight team ladies tournament ran at the same time.