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YSS – Lights Out Basketball Tournament Returns

February 8, 2024 by  
Filed under Provincial and Territorial News

Kilrich Lights Out basketball tourney now third largest in the Yukon

The Kilrich Lights Out basketball tourney is now the third largest in the Yukon.

By Morris Prokop on January 31, 2024

The Kilrich Lights Out basketball tourney is now the third largest in the Yukon.

According to Basketball Yukon president Lianne Fordham, the event only trails the Native Hockey tourney and Dustball for tournament supremacy in the territory.

Over 300 players on 28 teams took part in the event, which ran from Jan. 25-28.

A combined F.H. Collins team beat St. Francis 26-20 to take the high school girls’ crown. Grace Machtan was the division MVP. Maura Gallant won the three-point shooting contest.

In the boys’ high school division, Saint Francis’s teams 1 and 2 went to battle, with team 1 coming out on top, 79-49. Jeff Rumbaoa double-dipped, taking the MVP and three-point shooting honours.

Photo by Morris Prokop

“It was fun playing against our own team,” said Rumbaoa. “It was nice because we got to meet each other in the finals. Everything went well. I give props to the grade 11s. Especially in the first half, Kaelan Basnett was just hitting everything. I really have high hopes for next year.”

As for being named MVP, Rumbaoa said, “I just played really hard, hustled every play and tried to keep my head up, no matter what mistake I made.”

Rumbaoa listed communication as a key to their championship, as well as “being able to have trust in each other. Having trust like who’s got what man, our rotations and our positioning on offence. We just had really good chemistry together because we’ve been playing for years now.”

The women’s final featured the Shark Shooters taking a bite out of We Just Be Hoopin’ by a score of 64-57. Point guard Katie McAffee, who had a dominant final, was named the division MVP. The three-point competition was won by AWG player Robyn Mueller.

The Star spoke with MVP McAffee after the final.

“It was a lot of fun playing. It was a good, competitive game. I think both teams had a lot of fun and it’s just nice to be promoting women in sport in Whitehorse.”

As for the key to winning, McAffee said, “All of us kind of did out part collectively as a team really well and we got a redemption win on them in a way because they beat us the other day. It was nice that we had that chip on our shoulder and we were ready to play today.”

Of the MVP award, McAffee said, “I’m more excited about the team win than the MVP.

“I just tried my best every game, left it all out on the floor and most importantly, had fun with it too.”

McAffee spent most of the game battling Ritsuko (Sky) Imai.

“She was definitely a solid defender. I had to work extra hard today. She put a lot of pressure on me. She’s a great player, really quick, really smart. She’s really good.”

Imai said “Obviously, I wanted to win but we did our best.

Imai was having a hard time getting around the screens the Shark Shooters set up for her.

“They used good screens. That was really hard,” she related.

Imai added, “This tournament was amazing. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the last game.”

The men’s final Sunday saw the Shooting Suds drown JPR Cleaning Services 86-73.

Emmanuel Jones was the men’s MVP. Liam Pafford drained eight three-pointers in 30 seconds to win that competition.

This was the first Lights Out tournament since 2020.

Fordham said it was great to be back after so long.

“The energy’s there, the vibe’s there, everyone was super-excited to get back on the courts.

“We had lots of interest from Outside. Lots of travel teams, lots of youth teams. It was out first time ever having a team from Watson (Lake). Just a lot of wins all around.”

Teams came to the tourney from B.C, Alaska, and the N.W.T.

Fordham said the tourney featured some upsets, including a strong team from Haines, Alaska getting eliminated in the semifinals.

She also noted the caliber of talent and competition in the women’s division is increasing.

“But I think the youth division was the real win for me. We had a team from Fort Ware, B.C. here, which was so cool to see, players who had never left their communities come to Whitehorse and were just so gracious, humble and lovely to everyone around here and just be so excited to be here. Their coach said this is something that would stick with them for their lifetime, so it’s cool to be a part of that.”

A youth boys team from Fort Nelson participated in the event as well.

Fordham added that women from Fort Ware and Fort Nelson joined the Whitehorse women’s teams for the tournament. “It was great that our girls were able to accommodate them and be lovely as well.”

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Lights on for return of basketball tournament in Whitehorse

Yukon played host to teams from B.C., N.W.T. and Alaska

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the lights were on for the Kilrich Building Centres’ Lights Out Invitational Basketball Tournament, held over four days at four high school gymnasiums in Whitehorse.

The seventh iteration of the tournament hosted athletes from the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alaska to compete in the Yukon’s capital from Jan. 25 to Jan. 28.

With a final score of 86-73, the Shooting Suds won against JPR Cleaning Services to become the champions of 11 teams listed in the men’s division.

Out of six teams in the women’s division, the Shark Shooters beat We Just Be Hoopin’ in the finals. It was a physical match that ended 64-57.

Two teams from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School — STF 1 and STF 2 — battled for the top spot out of the eight youth boys’ teams. STF 1 took the lead with a final score of 79-49.

Out of the four youth girls’ teams, the F.H. Collins Secondary School combined team won the division with a score of 26-20 against the team from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School.

Tournament coordinator Lianne Fordham said the girls’ division was filled with players preparing for the Arctic Winter Games. Their coach asked that those players sit out, so the two F.H. Collins teams merged and the Arctic Winter Games athletes stuck around to cheer but didn’t play.

Fordham said it was a “real cool” opportunity to see girls in sport supporting each other.

Fordham said the gathering has become the third-largest tournament in the Yukon. According to Fordham, it comes after the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, which had a record 56 teams register from communities throughout the Yukon and neighboring jurisdictions in 2023, and the Dustball Slo-pitch Tournament, which had 58 teams participating in its 41st edition last summer.

— With files from Stephanie Waddell and Matthew Bossons

Contact Dana Hatherly at dana.hatherly@yukon-news.com

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