Wolverines roar to victory in Cam Bay

by James McCarthy- June 17, 2018

If Rankin Inlet claims the title of Hockeytown, Nunavut, you can pencil in Cambridge Bay as Basketballtown, Nunavut.

The Cambridge Bay Basketball Association wrapped up its second season earlier this month with the best-of-five championship series between the Killinik High School Wolverines and Team Juice. It came right down to the wire but the Wolverines came out on top in the decider by a score of 61-52 to win the series, 3-2, and the title.

The Killinik High School Wolverines are your 2018 Cambridge Bay Basketball Association champions after defeating Team Juice in the deciding game of the best-of-five final earlier this month. The champs are, front row from left, Ethan Kaiyogana, Peter Norman Evalik, Adam Komaksuit and Kanen Evalik; back row from left, head coach Terry Aknavigak, Tristian Peterson, Joshua Muise, Lance Akoluk, Jaiden Maksagak, Corbyn Klengenberg, Kobe Aknavigak and assistant coach Kean Niptanatiak. photo courtesy of Peter Ohokanoak

Peter Ohokanoak, the association’s president, said this was the second year in a row that the Wolverines made the finals, falling just short last season.

They’re also the team that travels for the territorial championship.

“These boys have worked hard and it shows when they play against their own age,” said Ohokanoak. “They are back-to-back territorial champions in Nunavut.”

This year’s league had four teams and all four made the playoffs. If there were any surprises, it came in the form of Team Juice, who got out of the gate this season slowly.

“They lost their first five games of the season,” said Ohokanoak. “They had a lot of injuries at the start but they had a good winning streak near the end and that helped them.”

To help Team Juice out, all the team captains agreed to allow the team to add players to its roster.

“We had league nights and rec ball and there were some players in rec ball that weren’t playing in the league,” said Ohokanoak. “We asked them if they wanted to play and the team captains all said they would be OK with that.”

Team Juice won the first game of the final but the Wolverines came back to win the next two and looked likely to win Game 4.

“Juice looked like they were in trouble,” said Ohokanoak. “It was a tight game but they pulled it out to force Game 5.”
It wasn’t meant to be as the Wolverines managed to hold on in Game 5 and snag the championship trophy.

This season featured better parity among the teams than last season, said Ohokanoak, as all four teams had close records and no one team ran away with everything as happened last season.

Ohokanoak confirmed there will be a third season of the association but he will not be president. He’s decided to step back and let some other people take the reigns to grow what’s been started.

“The foundation has been built,” he said. “I’d like to see someone step in and create some other roles within the association, such as stats and scheduling. I did all of that this past season so those are a couple of ways we can keep growing. I’d also like to see a refereeing schedule of some kind and maybe even a refereeing clinic here in the community so we can have more people certified to help out.”

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