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Senior boys are provincials bound

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The Dauphin Clippers are off to provincials.
The senior boys basketball team qualified for the provincial tournament by winning an interzone tournament, Feb. 28, hosted by the Neelin Spartans in Brandon.
The Clippers first beat the Neepawa Tigers, 86-51, before beating Neelin, 67-51 in the final.
Clippers coach John Marshall said the Clippers knew what Neepawa was all about, having played the Tigers a couple of times already this season.
“All the players got on the court and saw some playing time. Just working the system, working the offence and playing consistent defence,” he said.
The game against Neelin was a bit tougher. The Spartans took it to Dauphin in the first half and had the Clippers on their heels, Marshall said.
“Nothing seemed to be really working,” he added.
The Clippers kept trying different things they had worked on all year until they finally found a press and offence that worked.
“And we kind of switched around some personnel and tried out some kids in some new positions and came out with the victory,” Marshall concluded.
When it comes to provincials, Marshall does not know what to expect, not knowing where they will be seeded or who they will face.
“I think we have a very good chance to be successful there. I think we’re a very competitive team. We’re resilient. We’ve had a few close games this year and we’ve come out mostly on top. We’ve had a couple of losses, too, that hurt,” he said.
“But I think, from those losses, we’ve learned that we can play in close games.”
Provincials will take place, Mar. 14 to 16, hosted by Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg.
With a couple of weeks to prepare, Marshall said the Clippers will look to refine its offence, making sure they can get open looks and open lanes.
“Probably working a little bit more on structuring our press. And help defence. And then also probably working on some set plays in special situations,” he added.
Marshall said the fan support in Brandon made the interzone tournament almost feel like a home game.
“We had so much support. And I’m so proud of the boys, the way they worked and came back in that second game against Neelin. We were down at one point probably by as many as 15 points. It wasn’t looking good. They never gave up,” he said.
“They kept working hard, they kept chipping away. They took the momentum away from Neelin and kind of broke their spirit in the fourth quarter.”
The Clippers girls lost their qualification game, 72-39, to the Virden Golden Bears, Feb. 26, in Virden.
Clippers coach Anna Genik said her team simply did not have any luck.
“The girls played well, but just couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers they generated, while the other team couldn’t miss,” she said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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