PACI hosts annual senior boys basketball home tournament

Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald Prince Albert Collegiate Golden Bears post player finishes lay-up in the opening game for PACI’s annual home senior boys basketball tournament. The Golden Bears secured their spot in the winner’s bracket in the first game of the tournament, winning 76-44 against the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs.

Article by Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald

Prince Albert Collegiate hosted their annual home tournament for senior boys basketball on Mar. 1-2. In the past, the tournament has been hosted in December, but this year under first year Coach Curtis McCallum they hosted it in the first weekend of March.

The PACI Golden Bears played the Nisto Awasisak Warriors in the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon, losing 76-48. The bronze medal game was the second time PACI played Nisto during the tournament, their first game taking place on Friday night. The first game got heated at the end of the game due to the close final score after PACI’s comeback in the fourth quarter. The Nisto Warriors beat the Golden Bears 52-50 in their first face-off then again in the third place game taking home the bronze bear trophy.

Coach Curtis McCallum says in an interview with the Daily Herald that he is content with the outcome of the third place game against Nisto.

“Its a competitive sport, so the competitive side of things took a little bit over and they got to a mental game where our boys, both teams, showed their competitive side of the sport which is, for high school boys, is something that we see often, but both teams handled themselves well (in) in the second match. They came together, they patched things up between them, and things were good. In the light of things, yeah competitive does get in the way of how they interact with each other on the court. But overall (in) high school you tend to bump heads and then you do see some reactions. Overall I think they both did a great job the next game with making up with one another and they played very well together the next game. Going forward, again it’s always tough to deal with a loss especially when you’re going for placement, so the boys will come back and think about what they could do better.”

McCallum says he is satisfied with PACI’s performance this weekend and will work on further improvement in his team for the conferences coming up Mar. 8-9.

McCallum is a first year teacher and coach at PACI this year. He says that he is enjoying his time at Prince Albert Collegiate due to it’s smaller size and the smaller community. During the interview, McCallum said that he knew he wanted to coach basketball this year because he played it in his youth and it was something he really enjoyed growing up. McCallum says it’s been challenging finding a balance between teaching, coaching and family.

“Coming in as a first year teacher, it’s a lot. You’re handling your own subjects and then plus you do your coaching, your extra (curricular). It’s been a good start, for myself it’s been difficult to manage and that coaching side with practices and planning games and also doing grading, teaching and plus I have a newborn at that time. In September he would’ve been three months so doing that and having time away from my family was also hard.”

Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald Prince Albert Collegiate Golden Bears played gets his shot blocked by Nisto Awasisak Warriors player in the first game of PACI’s annual Senior Boys Basketball home tournament on Mar. 1-2.

Eight teams were invited, but only seven teams played last weekend: the PACI Golden Bears, Churchill Chargers, Ahtahkakoop Chiefs, Kinistino Blues, L.P. Miller Bears, Bernard Constant Community School (BCCS) Thunderbirds, and Nisto Awasisak Warriors.

On Friday, the first game kicked off between the Golden Bears and the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. Through hard work, PACI managed to secure their spot in the winners bracket, beating the Chiefs 76-44.

The second game on Friday was between the Bernard Constant Community School (BCCS) Thunderbirds from James Smith Cree Nation and Nipawin’s L.P. Miller Bears. Despite the Bears having a significant lead throughout the game, both teams managed to have fun and support each other. L.P. Miller Bears advanced to the winners bracket with a final score of 72-37 against the Thunderbirds.

Game 3 was the PACI Golden Bears second game of the day against the Nisto Awasisak Warriors from Cumberland House Cree Nation. Due to the fallback of the eighth team invited, the Warriors had no one to play to decide their standing in the bracket so PACI filled the spot. The Warriors won 52-50 against the Golden Bears after a competitive game sending them into the winners bracket.

The last game of Friday night took place between the Kinistino Blues and the Churchill Chargers from La Ronge. Game four was a very fast-paced and competitive game with two players from La Ronge fouling out. The Chargers won against the Blues 66-57, which would send the Chargers into the winners bracket to play the Nisto Warriors on Saturday afternoon.

Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald Churchill Chargers player finishes lay-up guarded by L.P. Miller Bears during the championship game at Prince Albert Collegiate’s annual home basketball tournament on Saturday.

Saturday morning’s game 5 was set to start early at 8:30 between the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs and the BCCS Thunderbirds, but due to a miscommunication the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs were forced to forfeit for their absence.

The actual first game of the morning, the sixth game of the tournament, started at 9:30 am. The PACI Golden Bears played against the L.P. Miler Bears in the semi-finals. The L.P. Miller Bears fought hard for their placement in the championship game, winning 64-48 against PACI. This sent the PACI Golden Bears to play for third place.

Game 7 took place between the Nisto Warriors and the Churchill Chargers. The Chargers won 71-53 and advanced into the championship game set to take place against the L.P. Miller Bears at 5:30 pm, Saturday afternoon.

The Ahtahkakoop Chiefs played game 8 against the Kinistino Blues in the consolation bracket. The Blues secured their 41-24 victory against the Chiefs through consistent ball movement and strong defence.

The third place game took place between the Nisto Warriors and the PACI Golden Bears. After their first fiery game, both teams managed to patch their relationship on the court to play a great game of basketball. In the end, the Nisto Awasisak Warriors took home the bronze bear trophy after their 76-48 win. Game 9 was PACI’s last game of the tournament which landed them a fourth place standing.

The last game for the consolation bracket was set to be played between the Kinistino Blues and the BCCS Thunderbirds. Game 10 featured plenty of free throws as players from both teams racked up fouls each quarter. The Blues took home the consolation title in fifth place with a 80-37 win against the Thunderbirds. The BCCS Thunderbirds placed sixth in the tournament, followed by the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs in seventh place.

Game 11, the last game of the tournament, took place at 5:30 pm Saturday evening. This gold place game would determine the champions of this year’s PACI senior boys basketball tournament. Both the L.P. Miller Bears and Churchill Chargers would leave their hearts on the court. In the first half, both teams fought hard for each and every point. The point difference by halftime was less then 10, with the Chargers in the lead.

After a light-hearted and comical choice of music during halftime by PACI students and co-ordinators, the game became even more intense. Every ball possession was a chance to take the championship title. The Churchill Chargers came back even stronger in the third and fourth periods, which led to one player from the Bears to foul out. The Chargers began to dominate the court, taking their well deserved victory against the Bears for the golden bear trophy. Nipawin’s L.P. Miller Bears took home the silver bear trophy, standing in second place.

Prince Albert Collegiate is hosting the 3A Boys Basketball Conference tournament for the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association this up-coming weekend, Mar. 8-9. Coach McCallum says he is excited for this weekend, and is comfortable with the teams coming to PACI this weekend.

“We have five teams, including us so there will be La Ronge/Senator Myles Venne, Ahtahkakoop will be back, Ahtahkakoop was at our last tournament, Creighton, Stanley Mission and PACI. I feel pretty comfortable with all the teams being there, as I’ve seen half of them play. I’ve seen Creighton, (and) Ahtahkakoop play. I don’t know so much about Senator Myles Venne or much about Stanley Mission. Those two are gonna be a little toss-up…. I know PACI, we haven’t played them this year at all. I don’t think the players can remember if they played them either in the past. It’ll be good, it’ll be a lot of fun. It’s a single team elimination so I’ve told my team we have to come out strong, considering we play the Saturday morning game that they’re well rested and they’re prepared for playing against Stanley Mission on Saturday morning.”

The first game will take place on Friday, Mar. 8 at 5:45 pm between the Senator Myles Venne School (SMVS) Huskies from Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Ahtahkakoop Chiefs from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. The second game will be at 11:00 am on Saturday morning, between the Creighton Kodiaks and the winner of game 1. The third game will follow behind at 12:45 pm on Saturday afternoon, between the Stanley Mission (Rhoda Hardlotte Memorial Keethanow High School) Braves from Stanley Mission Cree Nation and Prince Albert Collegiate (PACI) Golden Bears. The final game will be at 4:45 pm, teams playing will be the winners of game 2 and game 3. The top two teams will advance to the 3A Boys Basketball Regional Tournament.