The Yellowknife Eagles U18 girls basketball team is officially off and running with its tournament season for 2022-23.
Their first port of call was Vancouver for the Remembrance Day Jamboree earlier this month and the ladies won two and dropped two matches. The big win was over the Yukon Arctic Winter Games squad in their final contest on Nov. 13, 34-23.
Head coach Aaron Wells said he’s quite happy with how things played out.
“It’s a relatively young team we have this season, but they exceeded my expectations (that weekend),” he said.
The girls played in what was known as the varsity division, a mixture of U17 and U18 teams. They began on Nov. 11 with a game against Junior Elite from Vancouver, which ended in a 42-22 defeat.
Wells said the final score may look lopsided, but it represented a short stretch of futility.
“We played that game just after flying in,” he said. “We had a bad five to seven minutes and that put us in a hole, but it was pretty even around that stretch.”
Next up was Elevate, another Vancouver squad, and that was a 59-40 triumph.
“We played phenomenal in that one,” said Wells. “Lily Newberry played great in that game and if we could have played like that in our other games, we could’ve been 3-and-1 or even 4-and-0.”
Game three saw the Eagles drop a 48-30 decision to Lead U17 from Vancouver, a game which Wells said played out much the same as the first one.
“We had our good moments, but we had some bad stretches in that one,” he said.
The showdown against Yukon was one that didn’t take too much for the girls to get up for, he added, simply because of the rivalry involved.
“We didn’t know we would be playing them until (Nov. 12) afternoon,” he said. “You don’t want to go home losing that one.”
The team won’t be back on the road for their next tournament until March, but the next big event for many of the players will be Arctic Winter Games trials coming up in December.
“I expect a lot of those girls will be trying out,” he said. “We have other tournaments lined up in April and May. I’d like to try and get one in late February or early March, but it’s tough to find tournaments.”