Rhonda Lee McIsaac
There is a real Pacific storm brewing under those new LED lights at the George Brown Rec Centre! Between the ref whistles, the ball-wrestling in key, the players yelling for the pass, and the crowd screaming for stronger defense, it may also be the noisiest place to be.
Thursday night’s games began promptly at 5pm with the tip off between Haida and Tonga- Hawai’i. The kitchen churned out beef dips by the platefuls in support of the Skidegate Junior Girls basketball team. Fans and players enjoyed platefuls of chow mein and hot fry bread slathered with raspberry jam, syrup, or glossy butter. All eyes were on the ball as it moved up and down the court in successive motion between Haida offense and Tonga-Hawai’i defense, and vice versa. In only a twenty-point spread the Haida team won 88 to Tonga-Hawai’i 66.
The Girls’ Exhibition Game was exciting as it was fast paced with many cheering fans getting louder as the game went on. The Women’s team kept up with the Juniors basket for basket. In the end, with one last attempt to tie it up in the last seconds of the game, the buzzer sounded and the Junior Girls won 40-38.
Maori against Tonga Hawaii. Was this ever a fast game. A Pacific battle of bodies, minds, and spirits. Sweat running off the men resulted in one player ending up on the hard top, crippled by a tightened muscle. He walked off the floor to his bench. In the fourth quarter the Maori out gunned the worn-out Tonga-Hawai’i team. This was their second game of the night; still their smiles persisted. The Maori team walked away with 96 points to Tonga-Hawai’i’s 88.
Thursday night’s final game saw the home team Haida Nation take on the Northwest coast Gitxsan warriors. Throughout the game, the score evened out as three pointers seemed to sink on either side. The refs were getting frustrated calls and sideline talks from the players and coaches alike. In the end, outside plays gave way to Haida 69 vs. Gitxsan 60.
If the weather change that brought high winds and cooler temperatures has you feeling down, don’t despair. The hottest place to be will be at the George Brown Recreation Centre on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s action will begin at 5:00 pm with the Boys Exhibition Game and then the highly anticipated 6:30 pm game as Gitxsan takes on Tonga/Hawai’i, followed by the Friday night highlight at 8:00 pm when the Haida take on the Maori.
It’s bound to be a rough and tumble night at the George Brown Recreation Centre in Skidegate. Hold your pulled pork plate close and cheer for Pacific Unity through culture and sport!
New Game Schedule
Wednesday, August 1
6:00 pm: Opening Ceremony
6:30 pm: Maori 79 vs. Gitxsan 57
8:00 pm: Adult Men’s Exhibition Game
Thursday, August 2
5:00 pm: Haida 88 vs. 66 Tonga/Hawai’i
6:30 pm: Girls Exhibition Games
8:00 pm: Maori 96 vs. 88 Tonga/Hawai’i
9:30 pm: Haida 69 vs. 60 Gitxsan
Friday, August 3
5:00 pm: Boys Exhibition Games
6:30 pm: Gitxsan 55 vs. 74 Tonga/Hawai’i
8:00 pm: Haida 63 vs. 72 Maori
Saturday, August 4
10:30 am: Semi-Final – Haida 110 vs. 62 Tonga/Hawai’i
12:00 pm: Semi-Final – Maori 85 vs. 65 Gitxsan
3:30 pm: Tonga/Hawai’i 72 – 65 Gitxsan
5:00 pm: Haida Nation 83 – 63 Maori
6:30 pm: Closing Ceremony