It has been many years since the Nuxalk Nation competed in the Intermediate Division of the annual All Native Basketball Tournament but this didn’t slow the team down: the Nuxalk Braves walked away with third place at last weekend’s tournament.
“I am in utter disbelief. Braves placed third!” wrote manager Wilma Parr. “I am honoured to experience Nuxalk talent first hand. We have an amazing group of young men.”
The Braves, who were not favoured to place in the tournament, played some hard fought games and impressed the crowd. The team was coached by Ryan Parr, managed by Wilma Parr, and supported by numerous community members who assisted with training, fundraising, and travel costs.
“Each player brought a different aspect of talent to the game we all love. We played six games in the week we were here,” said Parr. “Every single player came out fighting.”
The Braves played hometown team Prince Rupert in the semi-finals and lost 67 to 90. Prince Rupert went on to face Port Simpson, who won the tournament with a score of 74 to 61.
The women’s team, the Nuxalk Spirit, played some tough games, losing their first game to Gitwinksihlkw in a close battle but winning easily over Masset in their second. Finally they lost to second-place finisher Kitimaat in their third game. Bella Bella ladies team, who has won the tournament for the past two years, also lost to Kitimaat to place third. Hazelton took the top spot in the Women’s Division. The women’s team was coached by Chantelle Saunders.
The Sr. Men’s Team, the Nuxalk Nation, won their first game against Gitwinksihlkw, lost their second to Kitkatla and their third to Ahousat. Kitkatla was heavily favored to win the seniors division but went on to place second in a nail biter of a game against Skidegate, who won 74 to 72.
Some special mentions for the Nuxalk teams are Marlon Edgar-Apps who received an All Star and High Scorer for the tournament in the intermediate division and Duncan Edgar, who also received an All Star in the intermediate division.
The 58th Annual all native basketball tournament is a unique event where family and friends gather from up and down the coast for one week to represent their Nation and battle for the elusive championship.