The Grand Forks Secondary School (GFSS) Wolves senior boys’ basketball team closed off the season, going 1-2 at the AA Kootenay Zone basketball tournament this past weekend at the GFSS gym.
Friday, Feb. 24: GFSS Wolves 56 vs. David Thompson Lakers 57
It appeared as if the sixth-seeded Wolves would be at least headed to OT against the three-seed Lakers but a potential game-tying free throw was waved off by the referee, citing a lane violation.
Damien Rougeau led the Wolves in scoring with 24 points.
“It was an amazing game, it was probably the best one I’ve ever played in but it’s pretty crushing to lose it by that little,” explained GFSS player Ryan Horahan.
Horahan disagreed with the lane violation call that nullified what would’ve been the tying basket.
“I just call it a questionable call by the referee; I don’t like it,” he said.
“He’s not our favourite ref I guess but it wasn’t his fault,” explained GFSS’ Brodie Hall. “We had so many opportunities to close that game. The easiest reason would be to blame it on someone else for the loss but it was really us. We missed shots when we should’ve made them.”
Head Coach Michael Wirischagin agreed.
“I honestly thought it was a questionable call as well but ultimately it shouldn’t have had come to that point,” Wirischagin said.
“We turned the ball over too many times. We missed easy lay ups and easy shots and we missed free throws and if we had done those little things right, it would have never come to that point.”
Friday, Feb. 24: Prince Charles Secondary School (PCSS) 51 vs. GFSS 60
The team bounced back for a win against PCSS despite the emotional end to the previous game.
Hall took an elbow to the mouth early in the game and had to be taken to hospital.
He was OK but did not return.
“One of their post players kind of brought the ball over and his elbow hit me in the mouth and I dropped to the floor,” explained Hall about the elbow incident the following day.
“I didn’t really know what happened and I kind of blacked out for a bit but I got back up and my teammates were saying my teeth were out, so I got up and went to the hospital and I heard that my teammates pulled through and got the win.”
“My teeth are back in and I don’t have any fake teeth or anything so it’s all good,” Hall quipped.
Rougeau once again led the team in scoring, this time with 19 points.
Saturday, Feb. 25: GFSS 62 vs. Selkirk Secondary School 66
Ryan Horahan fouled out and was replaced by Ross Merry.
Rougeau, Jamie Ferguson and Heath Bergum were tied for a game-high 16 points each.
Because of his injury suffered in the PCSS game, Hall, who along with Horahan will graduate this year, sat for most of the game but Wirischagin gave him some time at the end, as it was his final game and he made a basket.
Hall wasn’t happy about spending most of the game on the bench.
“Worst feeling of my life,” Hall said of being spectator for most of the Selkirk game. “It was awful but I got that last basket at the end and it made it a bit better.”
After the team’s final game, Wirischagin noted that the team’s lack of success from the free throw line hindered the team and the fact it turned the ball over quite a bit in its three games didn’t help either.
“It’s often the small things that come back to bite you and that’s ultimately what happened. Turnovers, free throws, the small little things,” he said.
The team was quite tenacious under the boards throughout its three games but Wirischagin saw room for improvement.
“We had a killer instinct in this tournament that we haven’t had all season. Defensively, I would’ve liked to see us box out a little better,” he said.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds but for the first time all season, we went and got some of those offensive boards and put back points that every other team seems to be able to get that are the little things again that help you win and keep you in games.”
Nelson’s L.V. Rogers ultimately won the tournament, defeating Invermere’s David Thompson 64-49 in the zone final.
The Nelson high school will represent the Kootenay zone at the provincial tournament in Kamloops, which takes place between March 7 and 10.