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Clippers lose tournament final in dying seconds


It does not get any closer than that.
The Dauphin Clippers senior boys basketball team reached the final of their home tournament, Saturday afternoon, where they faced The Pas Spartans.
After trailing for most of the second half, the Clippers tied the game in the last minute. But The Pas sank a free throw with 2.9 second left and escaped with a 63-62 win and the tournament championship.
Dauphin opened the tournament with a 99-30 win over Grandview and advanced to the final with a 92-27 win over Norway House.
The Pas beat Winnipegosis, 79-49 in its first game and scored a win over Flin Flon in the semifinals to earn its berth in the championship game.
Clippers coach John Marshall was pleased with the Clippers energy level and effort in the tournament.
“Sometimes, our execution wasn’t quite there. We missed some key free throws that could have put us in a better position,” he said.
“Obviously, it was a very exciting game to watch. We came just a little bit short at the end, but I can’t be disappointed in the way they played. Nobody gave up. We were pretty much down the whole game. We kept battling back.”
The Clippers’ press was effective intermittently, Marshall added, and they made some good defensive stops.
“Our rebounding improved. But down the stretch, they just had a little more than we did,” he added.
The Clippers will be in Swan River for a tournament, Friday and Saturday, where they expect to face The Pas again, Flin Flon and the host Swan Valley Tigers.
Marshall feels the home tournament was a goods tuneup for the Swan Valley event.
“Our first two games were easier. But (the final) was a great game and there’s a lot to take away from this. Having to foul at the end on purpose, it’s a good learning experience for the kids,” he said.
“We almost pulled it off. We almost went into overtime. We almost won the game. We have lots of things to talk about and to work on. Players grow through these kinds of games. Winning is great, but when you lose a game, there’s more to learn from that. And I know the guys have learned a lot.”
Marshall would have liked to get his bench players more playing time in the final, but he had to keep his starters in for most of the game because it was so close.
Marshall wishes to thank everyone who supported the tournament.
“Hopefully, they were entertained,” he said.
Flin Flon beat Norway House, 64-63 to finish third in the tournament. Roblin finished fifth after a 72-54 win over Ebb and Flow. Winnipegosis beat Grandview to finish seventh.
The Clippers senior girls competed at a tournament in Neepawa, where they finished seventh.
Dauphin opened with a 78-13 loss to the Neelin Spartans, then fell 62-26 to the Portage Saints.
The Clippers clinched seventh place with a 51-25 win over the Major Pratt Trojans of Russell.
This was the second tournament of the year for the senior girls, having competed in Roblin in December for their tryouts.
“This was our first tournament as a team,” said Clippers coach Anna Genik.
The Clippers, she added, are improving a lot.
“They’re getting a lot better and a lot stronger. So that’s our positives that we’re looking at,” Genik said.
The team consists mostly of Grade 11 players, with only one Grade 12 athlete.
“They’re a young team, they’re a fresh team. But they’re growing really quickly. It’s definitely a rebuilding year,” Genik said.
The goal for the season is to keep improving over the course of the year.
“And hopefully, compete for our zone,” she said.
The girls’ next tournament is in Swan River, Jan. 18 and 19.

Doug Zywina