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Hoops squads to keep battling

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The Muskie senior and junior boys' basketball teams battled hard in the first half of the NorWOSSA season and are looking to continue that trend over the latter part of the schedule.

The seniors went into the Christmas break fresh off an impressive 74-52 win over the host Dryden Eagles (2-2) back on Dec. 20 that improved their league record to 3-1.

The squad resumed action yesterday against the host Kenora Broncos (1-3), with the outcome not known as of press time.

Then they'll cap the week by playing at an exhibition tournament in Thunder Bay this Friday and Saturday.

Co-coach Greg Ste. Croix is hopeful his squad will continue to execute in all areas moving forward.

“Well, we are 3-1 in the league. Each game has been a learning experience,” he replied when asked to assess the team's first half.

“When we have been firing on all cylinders, we have been very good.”

Ste. Croix believes some of biggest keys to maintaining their early success will be continuing to grow and be better on all aspects of the game.

“The old saying goes that offence wins games and defence wins championships,” he noted.

"When players see how much fun it is to get on offence from playing great defence, we'll be headed in positive direction.

“Now, when we have done this before Christmas, we played really well,” Ste. Croix added.

“Continuing to get better every day is also a challenge, but an opportunity for us to get to another level—a level I'm confident that we can get to.”

As for the junior squad, they suffered a narrow 43-42 setback to the host Eagles back on Dec. 20 that dropped their league record to 1-3.

Dryden (2-2) trailed for much of the game but made a late comeback to snatch the victory away from the Muskies.

“Our juniors played an improved offensive/defensive game where they should have earned the win, but lack of game experience cost us the game,” co-coach Dan Bird admitted.

"Leading going into the fourth quarter, the plan was tighten our defence, wear the clock down, and go for improved shot selection.

“It seems Dryden carried out our plan, with the exception of the clock,” he noted.

Despite the disappointing loss, Bird is hopeful his players can use it to better themselves in the second half of the season.

The squad also resumed league action yesterday against the host Broncos (3-1), with the outcome not known as of press time.

Then they'll cap the week by playing at an exhibition tournament in Thunder Bay this Friday and Saturday.

“We're still happy with the effort of the team and know we're on the right track,” Bird said.

"But hopefully moving forward, we'll use the loss as a great learning experience.

“Ashton Barnes had a good game [against Dryden], improving his point guard play," Bird lauded. ”Santino Smith and Brett Schram played well.

“Josh Ward was our most consistent defensive player and had some great scoring opportunities in creating turnovers,” he added.

“With the upcoming January schedule and two tournaments, it will be nice to get everyone more floor time in preparation for the final stretch,” Bird remarked.

“We do need the bench to come in and continue the improved defensive play and create good scoring opportunities,” he stressed.

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