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Basketball season underway with tournament, fundraiser, local battle

The high school basketball season is underway, with Creighton hosting a pair of exhibition games for a good cause.
Frontier Raider Angel Halkett and Hapnot Kween Cassidy Alexander battle for the ball during the finals at Frontier's basketball tournament in Cranberry Portage in January.

The high school basketball season is underway, with Creighton hosting a pair of exhibition games for a good cause and three regional high schools heading to a tournament this weekend.

Senior varsity teams from the Creighton Kodiaks and the Frontier Collegiate Raiders from Cranberry Portage opened their seasons off with exhibition games last week, both to start the year and to raise money for a good cause.

Both schools brought their varsity boys and girls teams, with the boys facing off and ending with a 65-30 win for Creighton. Frontier was able to open up an early lead and battled back after halftime, but the Kodiaks ran away with the win late.

The girls’ teams also faced off afterwards, ending with Creighton limiting Frontier to single-digit scoring and a 38-6 final score for the Kodiaks.

Through the game, Creighton School was able to hold a fundraiser for Brain Cancer Canada, raising cash for a tournament the team played in last weekend. For Kodiaks players and coaches, the cause is close to their hearts, having lost classmate Caleb Janzen last year after a long, hard fight with a brain tumour. Players for the Kodiaks in various sports still pay tribute to Janzen, bringing “#WePlayForCaleb” banners and signs and occasionally writing Janzen’s initials on themselves or their gear for games.

Through a silver collection at the game, the Kodiaks and Raiders were able to raise $400 to bring to Norquay, the site of a senior girls’ tournament last weekend which was holding a fundraiser of its own to fight brain cancer.

In Norquay, the girls’ Kodiaks hit the court with a smaller lineup, bringing eight players to suit up. The Kodiaks opened the season with a 48-46 loss to Kamsack, before taking two more losses, first 50-32 to Melville, then 55-41 to the host Norquay team.

The senior boys’ team will play a home game Dec. 15 against the Frontier Mosakahiken Grizzlies from Moose Lake.

Hapnot’s senior Kings and Kweens teams will officially kick off their season with a tournament this weekend in The Pas, starting with the Bill McDonald Memorial Tournament Dec. 15-16 at Margaret Barbour Collegiate (MBCI). The Kodiaks and Raiders will also field boys and girls senior teams at the eight-team tournament, along with other northern squads.

Creighton's and Hapnot's senior teams will face each other in an exhibition matchup before Christmas break, then will get back to on-court action in January.

The senior Kings will take part in at least two other tournaments in the new year - first the Ste. Rose Celtics varsity boys’ tournament Jan. 12-13, then the Neepawa Tigers’ varsity boys’ tournament Feb. 16-17. No other tournaments have yet been confirmed by the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association for the senior Kweens or either of Hapnot’s junior varsity squads, but more announcements will come as the season progresses.

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