Snuneymuxw wins Junior All-Native Tournament championship

Mon. Mar. 30/15

In the B.C. Junior All-Native Basketball championship game against the Okanagan Syilx, the Snuneymuxw Native Sons were down for three quarters, but won the one that counted.

And after four quarters, the Native Sons were on top as tournament champions with a 57-53 victory Thursday afternoon at Vancouver Island University.

“I’d like to give a lot of credit to the second place team, but our boys played phenomenal down the stretch,” said Native Sons head coach Charles Gladstone.

Snuneymuxw was down four points after the first quarter, two points and halftime and just one after three.

But they went on an eight-point run led by star guard Hayden Jeffrey to take a five-point lead, one they would never relinquish, early in the final frame.

“We had to man up,” Gladstone said. “They were killing our one-two-two (zone press), which we had so much success with all tournament. We had to switch it up to a man-defence and we had good success with that.”

The Syilx hit two key three-pointers late in the game, but got into foul trouble in the waning minutes before Snuneymuxw’s Cedric Mack sunk a key free throw to wrap up the win.

“Those were huge, because he’s a very shy young man,” Gladsone said. “He really showed up this tournament because before, he was second-guessing himself all the time. But he put more practice in, played with Barsby this year, and it really helped him come along.”

Mack finished the game with seven points, while his team was led by the 24 points of Jeffrey — 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Shooting guard Jordan Gladstone, who will join Team B.C. this weekend, finished with 14 points after battling foul trouble most of the game.

“It took a lot of heart and determination,” he said after the win. “It feels amazing to be champs.”