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Clippers win fifth tournament, ready for interzone playoffs

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The Dauphin Clippers senior boys basketball team ended its tournament season the same way it started, with a tournament championship.
This time, the Clippers went 3-0 in winning the Nighthawk Invitational, hosted by Winkler’s Northlands Parkway Collegiate.
Dauphin opened the tournament with a 77-56 win over the Gimli Lakers, before beating the Carman Cougars, 70-36 in the semifinals.
The Clippers clinched the tournament title with a 70-42 win over the Morden Thunder in the final.
Clippers coach John Marshall said this win was sweet, because last year, Dauphin lost the final by one point.
“So it was a long trip back last year. So this year, the trip was a lot more pleasant knowing that we had pulled out the victory,” he said.
With the Clippers ranked second in the province, they have a target on their back and other teams are bring their A game when facing Dauphin.
“They want to beat us. We’re a team that, if you can beat us, you’re a pretty decent team. So they’re gunning for us and we have to be prepared for that,” Marshall said.
All the teams Dauphin played in Winkler gave the Clippers a good challenge at times.
This was the first time the Clippers faced Gimli and Carman and the second time they faced Morden.
The first time the Clippers and Thunder met was at Dauphin’s home tournament.
“We had an easier time with them in our home tournament. But in this tournament, they came out gunning for us. They had a game plan and they played really well in the first half. They gave us all we could handle,” Marshall said.
“But in the second half, we flexed and were able to take control of the game and play the game we wanted to play.”
The Clippers will now prepare for the interzone tournament, Feb. 29 in Swan River.
Knowing how high they are ranked provincially, the Clippers are confident going into the interzones.
“But not overconfident. We cannot take any team lightly. As I said before, teams are gunning for us. Teams have something to prove to us and we just have to be prepared and, once again, execute. Play our game and do the things we know we can do and we’ll find success,” Marshall said.
Once again, the Clippers appreciated the support from their fans in Winkler.
“It was nice to hear those friendly voices, because there was a lot of voices in the gym that were not so friendly. So it was nice to hear the cheering for us,” he said.
The Clippers have an exhibition game against Roblin, Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Clipperdome.
“So we’d like people to come out and see the boys play,” Marshall said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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