While it may have been a thrilling finish for championship games at the 59th All Native Basketball Tournament, it was a disappointing one for the Gitxsan teams entered in the contest.
Two new champions were crowned while two teams defended their titles in one of the most exciting final days on the tournament’s history.
The Gitxsan women’s defending champions had hoped to notch up another win but they were unable to make it into the final game and had to settle for a third place finish.
Earlier during round robin play, Prince Rupert Rain rallied from 20 points down to defeat the defending champs. Prince Rupert edged Gitxsan’s Hazeltons-area team 46-43 in one semi-final to advance to the final game against Kitamaat. Kitamaat topped Prince Rupert 69-58 to become the new women’s champions.
Earlier in the tournament, Gitxsan’s women’s team had battled back to the loser’s bracket for the semi-final but fell to the same Prince Rupert team that had edged them 63-59.
In the men’s intermediate division, Hazeltons’ Gitxsan team was beaten by Port Simpson 81-73 in the semi final. Port Simpson went on to defend it’s title against Bella Bella 98-87.
The men’s senior division was topped by a strong Kitkatla team as they beat a determined Hydaburg 70-67 in a game that went back and forth and was not decided until overtime.
The men’s masters division was a close comeback win for defending winners Hydaberg as they took Aiyansh 88-84.
All games were played at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre in Prince Rupert.