NPSS Grizzlies Junior Girls Basketball finishes second at Zones in Prince George

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The NPSS junior girls were in Prince George over the weekend for their last tournament of the season — the NCD Zone Championships hosted by Duchess Park. The Grizzlies went into the tournament ranked second, which put them up against seventh-ranked Kelly Road on Thursday night. The Grizzlies opened the tournament strong with a 67-16 win.

The semi-final on Friday morning brought a matchup against third-ranked Duchess Park. The Grizzlies had met the Condors only once before, their first tournament of the season, where the Grizzlies won by 15. This time, both teams came out firing and brought an intensity that kept the game at a fast pace. Duchess Park took the first quarter 10-9, while the Grizzlies took the second quarter, going into the half up 18-15. Duchess took back the lead in the third, scoring 12 points to the Grizzlies’ 7. After trading buckets in the fourth, Duchess went up 40-34 late in the quarter. Lead by Sophia De Torres and Meghan Stobbe, the Grizzlies clawed their way back, pulling ahead 42-40. Duchess tied it up 42-42 to force overtime. Down 49-51 with 12 seconds left in OT, Brooklyn Brown came up clutch with a huge defensive rebound and a good look to Sophia, who drained a 3 to pull the Grizzlies ahead 52-51. Ashlyn Dyck sealed the win with a final bucket and a 54-51 win for the Grizzlies.

Friday night brought the gold medal game and College Heights. The first and only time the Grizzlies had met the Cougars was in their second game of the season, back in December. The Cougars walked away that day with a demoralizing 67-15 win. The Grizzlies went into the final on Friday hoping to prove to the Cougars that they had worked hard all season and were ready to compete. Without Alyssa Gallant and Meghan Stobbe, who were out due to injury in the semi, the Grizzlies were lead in the 1 & 2 by Sophia De Torres and Karis Paracuelles. The Cougars took the first quarter 21-12, but the Grizzlies stayed composed under pressure and, working hard to stay in the game, pulled within 4 points of the Cougars midway through the second with a score of 28-24. The Grizzlies couldn’t maintain the pace, and the Cougars slowly pulled away in the second half, eventually taking the win 68-41. The loss was as good as a win to the Grizzlies though, as they achieved what they had set out to do and proved that they could compete with the top team in the Zone.

The Grizzlies then had a rematch against Duchess Park for second place, which they lost 36-34. Congrats to the girls and shout out to Alyssa Gallant and Sophia De Torres, who earned 2nd and 1st Team All-Star nods, respectively.

Overall it was a fantastic tournament for the girls and a great way to end the season. Despite the losses, they proved that they could compete with the best in the Zone. Congrats to the girls and shout out to Alyssa Gallant and Sophia De Torres who earned second and first-team all star-nods, respectively.

Junior Boys

The junior boys were in Vanderhoof for their Zone Championships, hosted by NVSS. The boys started the weekend strong with a 64-42 win over Fort St James.

The win put the team up against second-ranked PGSS in the semis. It was the team’s best defensive effort, with 37 defensive rebounds, 18 blocks and 11 steals. The first half of the game was evenly matched with PGSS ahead 36-33. During the third, PGSS started pulling away, but still the Grizzlies continued to battle to end the quarter 54-41. PGSS took the win with a final score of 76-59.

The loss set up a knock out game against the DP TODD Trojans, which the Grizzlies won 58-46 to put them in the 3rd/4th game against Duchess Park. The team came out flat in the first quarter, scoring only 3 points to end the quarter 3-10 in favour of the Condors. Line up changes and shifting from zone to man defensive brought the team back on top at the end of the first half, finishing 20-18. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies couldn’t hang on to the win and the Condors won with a final score of 40-48. The boys finished 4th overall. Congrats to the Grizzlies for a great tournament overall and strong fourth-place finish.

Senior Girls

This weekend the senior girls were at Prince George Secondary for a best-of-three series that set the winner up with a berth at Provincials. On Friday, the Grizzlies pulled together to demonstrate everything that they have been working on this season but lost 63-60. Saturday morning was a battle and the girls persevered to win 65-64 and push for the third game. In the final game, the Grizzlies dominated the game for the first three quarters, but PGSS pulled off the win. Well done this season, way to push and step up when it counted!

Senior Boys

This weekend was the senior boy’s most important tournament of the year. The Grizzlies were in a head to head match up with the PGSS Polars to see who would advance to provincials. The series was a best-of-three and in the end, it took all three games to declare a winner. The first game went as planned as the Grizzlies came out firing, with tremendous pace as they pressed on every made basket. This tactic was overwhelming for the Polars and the boys came out on top, with a 35-point win.

Up next was Game 2, and the conditions of this game created a perfect storm for the underdog PGSS to steal a win. A large part of the home crowd brought the right kind of energy which would eventually take a toll on Grizzlies’ mental game. The Polars also changed their defensive scheme, which flustered the boys and caused a barrage of uncharacteristic turnovers, leading to a melting pot of unfortunate circumstances and ultimately a devastating loss. In Game 3, the same conditions from Game 2 intensified and the Grizzlies found themselves down 28 halfway through the third. Their dream was slipping away, but it wasn’t quite over.

Basketball is a game of swings and with belief in one another, their true character and heart came out as the Grizzlies staged an amazing comeback that would put them up to two points with six minutes left in the game. This was all accomplished with two starters significantly injured. So, with a lineup of Liam Peterson, Ethyn Lang, Anaff Dema, Triston Stockall and Nathan Narciso, the boys essentially went on a 30-0 run. Their dream was starting to seem real again. The boys were somewhat in control until foul trouble hit and the lead dissipated. The Grizzlies’ dream and team goal were squashed and the Polars eventually won by five. Regardless of the outcome, the Grizzlies had an amazing season, not necessarily characterized by winning. The process and the journey is always the most important part. Congrats boys on an amazing season!

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