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JV Clippers win provincial title

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The Dauphin Clippers JV boys basketball team entered the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s AAA JV boys provincials in Brandon this past weekend as the third-ranked team in the tournament.
They left as provincial champions.
Dauphin opened the tournament with a convincing 91-50 win over the sixth-ranked Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute (MBCI) Spartans of The Pas in the quarterfinals.
Zerek Menard led the Clippers with 26 points, while Levi Seale was named Player of the Game.
Clippers coach Dave Matskiw said it was a good way to start the tournament.
The Clippers had seen MBCI earlier in the season and knew they were a smaller team, but fast and aggressive.
“So we figured as long as we played a good game, our size would pull us through. And that was the case in that game. We just basically were able to out rebound them and put back shots and get more and more possessions off rebounds,” he said.
“We just ground them down in the end.”
In the semifinals, the Clippers were up against the second ranked Westgate Wings and came away with a 69-51 victory.
J.J. Love was Dauphin’s top scorer, netting 36 points, while Menard was Dauphin’s Player of the Game.
The Clippers put their the fast break to good use against Westgate.
“Our small guard, Davin Shewchuk, we basically told him, ‘as soon as we get the ball in our hands, you take off running.’ And the guys fast-breaked, pushed the ball to him in transition and he got us a pile of points, too, in the game,” Matskiw explained.
“J.J. Love had a really strong game. In general, the guys played really well together.”
This put the Clippers into the final where they faced the upset-minded Louis Riel Voyageurs of Winnipeg.
The fifth-ranked team beat the host and fourth-ranked Neelin Spartans in the quarterfinals, before upsetting number one-ranked University of Winnipeg Collegiate Wesmen in the semis.
Their Cinderella story came to an end in the final against Dauphin.
Love had 19 points and Menard contributed 18 to lead the Clippers to a 68-53 win and the provincial title.
Love was named Player of the Game and was also named the tournament MVP, while Menard was chosen to the tournament all-star team.
Seale won Dauphin’s HARV Award (Hustle, Attitude, Respect, Values), presented by the tournament host Neelin Spartans.
The award was first presented in 2017 to honour former Spartan Jason Hargreaves, who was killed in an vehicle accident in 2009.
The game against Westgate was the one the Clippers were worried about most. By the time those two teams hit the court, Louis Riel had already upset the Wesmen.
The Clippers felt Westgate was a stronger team than the Voyageurs.
“So we knew it was going to be a tough game against them. They were quite skilled and they played very hard, very, very aggressive,” Matskiw said.
“But the boys kept their composure and they just kept playing and things kept going our way. So it was really good.”
The Clippers were able to watch some of the Voyageurs’ earlier games and knew they had some good shooters.
“And they had a few boys down low that rivaled J.J.’s size. And they had three big guys. We only really have one, being in J.J. So we were a little concerned, to say the least,” Matskiw said.
The Clippers knew it was going to be a tough game, he added, but early on they realized if they played solid defence, that would be key to the team’s success.
“We were able to make them scramble a bit on offence and they just couldn’t really get into a flow. We were able to, once again, get some offensive rebounds,” Matskiw said.
Players who usually get four to six points contributed in different ways, Matskiw noted, which was a huge benefit to the Clippers.
“Because then it opened up some of our main scorers. They didn’t have to score everything,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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