BY: Kaitlin Daly
This past weekend, Su-Valley held its annual Crowley Classic basketball tournament. Six teams, including Su-Valley showed up to compete. The Su-Valley JV girls were even able to compete due to Kenny Lakes basketball team dropping out. The games started immediately after school Thursday and finished late Saturday night with the victory of both the Su-Valley boys and girls varsity teams.
Both the girls and boys varsity teams from Su-Valley played hard throughout the placement games, because of this both teams continued on to the championship game.
The girls championship game was between Nenana and Su-Valley. The girls played strong continuing to make points the entire game. With each basket the crowd roared with excitement pushing the girls to play harder. Coach James Sickler says he believes the team accomplished this victory through physical play and teamwork.
“One big thing that we, our goals going into the tournament were that we embrace the contact because it’s a really physical sport and that we put our selfishness aside and work together a little bit more as a team instead of worrying how we were doing personally on the court and I think that really helped us succeed this weekend.”
Furthermore, Coach Sickler says this victory helps build the teams confidence for the conference tournament thats a couple weeks away. Coach Sickler says he intends to have the team prepare for this tournament by working on the team’s consistency.
“One large thing is consistency because we played a really strong game or even a really strong half and then we would follow that up with a poor performance in a half or a whole game. And so we really need to work on our consistency.”
The boys championship game was also between Nenana and Su-Valley. For the first three quarters Su-Valley was loosing, and it wasn’t until the final quarter that the boys began to play their hardest and turned the game in their favor. Coach Mike Matthews says that he believes the turning point in the game was when his team rallied to tie the score.
“I think that the real pivotal point in the entire game that sent us into the win was we were down by three points, I think we were maybe two minutes left in the game and Dawson came up the court and he got a pass or dribbled into it but his man was right on him and he, he shot a three pointer right in that guys face and it went in and it tied the game, the crowd went crazy, I went crazy and our team kind of finally realized okay we’re gonna win this game and we’ll fight to the end to do it and uh, we’re able to do that. All the kids contributed, it was fantastic.”
Furthermore, coach Matthews says that though this tournament does not directly benefit the team for State it helps them learn what they need to strive for.
“It helps us realize that we can come from behind and win and it also helps us realize that we gotta play with passion and all our energy every quarter of the games instead of just saving it for the very end. We had to come from behind thats not always an easy thing to do and, so I think it prepares us mentally in a little better way for being able to come from behind and realize it’s not easy it’s a lot better to start out strong and stay strong the entire game instead of play with low energy and then find, try to fight and crawl back at the very end.”
Along with the team victories several people from both teams won individual awards. On the girls team Emily Hartley won MVP, Sabrina Jurasek, Ayla Loper, Mariah Reynolds and Sarena Drover all made the all-tourney team. Along with this Ayla Loper won the Bruce Gunderson Heart and Hustle award and Ellie Bietsch won for the girls JV team. On the boys team Dustin Drover won MVP and Dawson Matthews and Talisan Waterhouse made the all-tourney team.
This weekend the Su-Valley teams have conference games where they will again compete against Nenana. Both teams are confident in having successful and competitive games.