The Nuxalk Braves gave their all in the Intermediate tournament, and will be returning home to Bella Coola with pride. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Bella Coola leave their mark on All Native Basketball Tournament as they reach Intermediate final

Nuxalk Braves bring home a strong second place finish; three individual awards for Marlon Edgar-Apps

For the first time in a decade an All Native Basketball Intermediate banner will be hung in the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre after the Prince Rupert Cubs knocked off Bella Coola 89-66 in Saturday night’s final.

Rupert’s last title in the division came in 2010 when the Friendship House defeated all competition. This year looked as promising as any though to return to the top, a talented team that found ways to win games. Nowhere was this more apparent than the semi-final matchup between these two sides that had taken place on Friday afternoon.

Down 67-62 to the Nuxalk Nation in the closing stages of the game, the Cubs scored the next five points, including a three by Devon Lalibrete to tie it up. Bella Coola went back on top with a late basket though, forcing the Cubs to dig deep. They did just that on the following possession, a missed shot falling right to Nik Campbell who tucked the shot off the glass and in with 0.4 seconds to play.

Bella Coola’s Marlon Edgar-Apps checks the clock as he goes up against Rupert’s Jalene Stephens in the semi-final. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Sometimes good teams have a little luck as well; the Cubs lost track of Jalen Williams on the ensuing inbound, but the Bella Coola player’s shot had a mind of its own as the ball somehow rimmed around the hoop and out on a shot from mere inches away.

The first overtime solved nothing, but the Rupert shooting came alive in the second extra frame. Nik Campbell continued to trade threes with Bella Coola’s Marlon Edgar-Apps, eventually getting the better of his Nuxalk counterpart as the Cubs pulled away for the win. This meant Rupert would have some time off before the Saturday final, while Bella Coola would be back on the court the following morning.

Prince Rupert’s Dionte Stephens drives up court with the ball as Bella Coola’s Duncan Edgar attempts to keep up. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Quinn Baggs of the Cubs looks to power past Fa’avae Va’a from Bella Coola during the semi-final. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Bella Coola’s Marlon Edgar-Apps launches a three over Prince Rupert’s Dominic Irvine. Edgar-Apps had the red hot shooting hand, but his efforts weren’t enough to take down the home side in either of their matchups. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Kitamaat women complete the three-peat at All Native

Bella Coola would deal with Bella Bella in the Consolation Bracket semi-final, but the extra game, which also went to overtime, clearly took something out of the hot shooting side. This wasn’t readily apparent in the final tilt, as Bella Coola held a 20-17 lead after one. But the shots along with the defence began to fade in the second quarter as Rupert went on a 31-14 stretch to take a 48-34 lead. A third quarter Rupert advantage of 25-8 left no doubt to the final decision, and 10 minutes of game time later it was the Cubs who had finally delivered the trophy back home.

Bella Coola’s Jalen Williams receives the pass while Rupert’s Colby Stephens rushes to close down on defence. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Prince Rupert’s Dylan Calder gets in the face of Bella Coola’s Koby Popek to throw off the shot during action in the final game. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“It was a phenomenal performance,” Cubs head coach Gage Ladouceur said of the win. “We took full advantage of them being tired. We had the legs, and the benefits of going all the way to the final. I wish this game had have been the first game, and that game had been this game. That game would have been so much more fun in the finals. I’m proud of my boys, we earned every minute and every second of this. They put in all the hard work and they deserve this win no matter how it went down,” Ladouceur said.

The Intermediate banner that will be hoisted high in the main gym of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Ladouceur had no end of praise for his leadership core. “Nik [Campbell] had two Player of the Games, Dylan Calder came off the bench, Colby Stephens has been our team captain, our leader, our general since the beginning of the season. Quinn [Baggs] came in and helped Colby with that role. There’s so many leaders on this team, they all know what they’re doing and they all know their role. It’s nice to see.”

“This is only the beginning too,” Ladouceur added of the future outlook for the Cubs. “There’s a lot of guys up and coming, so hopefully there’s more to come.”

The Prince Rupert Cubs are the 2020 All Native Basketball Tournament Intermediate Division champions, bringing the title to Rupert for the first time in 10 years. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Skidegate Saints return to top of the Seniors Division with comeback effort against Metlakatla AK

There were plenty of individual awards that came Rupert’s way, starting with MVP honours for Nik Campbell. Campbell was also named Mr. Hustle, while teammate Dylan Calder took home the Sixth Man award. Bella Coola’s Marlon Edgar-Apps was named Most Outstanding, Most Inspirational and Top Scorer of the tournament. Kobe McKnight from Bella Bella took home the Top Defensive award, with his team also being named Most Sportsmanlike.

Prince Rupert’s Nik Campbell was named tournament MVP, thanks to a series of clutch games and shots which included a game high 25 points in the final. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Prince Rupert’s Dylan Calder received the Sixth Man award. Calder had 14 points in the final, 12 of which came during a rampant Rupert run in the third quarter. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Bella Coola’s Marlon Edgar-Apps mopped up during the awards ceremony, being recognized as Most Outstanding and Most Inspirational Player, as well as the tournament’s high scorer. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

The Intermediate Division tournament All-Stars, including Prince Rupert’s Dylan Calder and Quinn Baggs (left). (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)


Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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