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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 2019-20 North Peace Grizzlies Athletics season resumed last weekend with all four basketball teams in action. The junior girls started 2020 off strong with a tournament win at the Chetwynd Winter Basketball Tournament. After a bit of a slow start, the Grizzlies opened the tournament on Friday night with big wins against Bert Bowes and Tumbler Ridge. Both games were huge team efforts, with scoring contributions from almost all of the girls.

On Saturday morning, the Grizzlies took on the Chetwynd Senior Team. Having had time to work on a new defense and full court press, the girls started with an intensity and focus that Chetwynd couldn’t match. With a final score of 66-14, the Grizzlies advanced to the final place game, which was a rematch against Chetwynd. The girls finished the tournament strong with a 77-14 win. Congrats girls!

The junior boys opened the Condor Classic at Duchess Park against the home team with a decisive 57-41 win. The win put the boys up against the top team in the tournament — Charles Hays Rainmakers. The Grizzlies put forth their best effort but the eventual champions were too much to handle and the boys suffered their worst loss yet, 50-22.

The next game was a thriller against a surprisingly strong DP Todd team, who lead the Grizzlies the whole game. A change in defensive strategy with three minutes to go in the 3rd quarter helped the Grizzlies chip away at the opponents lead, but they were still down 40-52 at the end of the third. A huge defensive effort from the team led by Temmy, Devon, Cy and Zack brought the team to a lead of 1 point with 17 seconds left in the fourth. A good free throw from DP Todd tied the game at 61 with nine seconds left. Again, the team relied on tight individual and team defense to force overtime. In overtime, a big three-point shot from captain Cy Bellamy and a lay up from co-captain Devon Lee sealed the win for the team with a final score of 66-61 and a third place finish.

The senior boys were at Prince George Secondary School at a tournament that ended up being their biggest challenge yet. The Grizzlies started with a bye, as Caledonia couldn’t make it due to weather, so the boys automatically advanced to the second round. Their first official game was against DP Todd, the third-ranked AA team in B.C. It was a close game the entire time, but Grade 12 player Liam Peterson led the way to a 84-79 victory with 35 points. They advanced to the final to play the top-ranked Charles Hays team. The Grizzlies kept it close the whole first half, trailing by 5 at the half. However, foul trouble and injuries cost them the game. The Rainmakers were too big, strong and fast for the Grizzlies to handle and the game finished with a final score of 95-68. Overall, the team played amazing and the loss against Charles Hays showed the boys what they need to work on going forward.

The senior girls started the new year in Grande Prairie with a close back and forth battle against PWA. They fell just short of a win, with a final score of 52-47. Saturday morning started with a strong win against Peace River High. The girls stepped up again to win against High Level in the consolation final game. Jordynn McPherson was named a tournament All-Star, demonstrating hard work, energy on the court, and teamwork, while averaging 20 points a game. Special shout out to Isabella Ziebart who demonstrated her creative instincts and help lead the team to two wins on Saturday.

Athlete of the Week: Nathan Narciso (Gr. 12, Sr Boys Basketball)
Nathan was the sixth man, coming off the bench and playing with an incredible amount of heart.

Up Next: The junior teams are playing at home this weekend in the New Years Classic, co-hosted by North Peace and Bert Bowes. The senior boys are in Grande Prairie at GPRC. The wrestling team is at their first tournament of the season at Alexander Forbes School in Grande Prairie.

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