Tuesday, February 17, 2009

50 years of basketball celebrated

The final days of the fiftieth anniversary of the All Native Basketball tournament took some time to honour those of the past who built the tournament into the showcase that it has become over the years.

They traced some history and saluted the names of the past on Saturday, part of the festivities that wrapped up this years edition of the tournament.

The Daily News featured details of that celebration as the front page, headline story in Monday's paper.

Great names from past honoured at end of 50th All-Native Basketball Tournament
The Daily News
Monday, February 16, 2009
Pages one and three

Fifty years is a long time.

Somewhere within that length, some remarkable things will happen and perhaps none bigger than those that cause great change.

For the All-Native Basketball Tournament, that moment might very well have been the day Roberta Etzerza (ne Carlick) stepped on to the court in 1992 to play against men.

It led to a fantastic change in the way the tournament was run. It also very well could have led directly to Friday night when little sister Judy Carlick was inducted into the ANBT hall of fame.

Carlick became the first female basketball player to be so honoured and the moment was not lost on her or fellow inductee ANBT Vice President Peter Haugan.

"I told everybody on the board there was no way I was going in by myself. It was time we got a lady in here," said Haugan.

That's what happened when Haugan, Carlick and player of the decade Roland Barton were all honoured for their significant contributions to the sport on the North Coast.

"It is very humbling when you get asked," said Haugan. "It is a great honour and this is my passion. I would not have volunteered for 43 years if I didn't like what I was doing," said Haugan.

As a commercial fisherman, Haugan said he now gets recognized up and down the coast for his work with the ANBT.

"That's pretty satisfying," he said.

Carlick was - and is - a well-rounded baller who has rebounded with tenacity throughout her career and has always been able to 'hit the outside shot. Back in 1993, the players were lucky if their jersey's matched, and the games themselves were just a mishmash of pick up basketball.

But even if it took a while for the women's game to square up. it might have never happened if the Carlick sisters didn't take part. Judy Carlick said there will be a time very soon that her sister Roberta is inducted in the hall of fame. It is just a matter of time.

"If it wasn't me (this year) it would have been her," said Carlick.

Carlick added that the tournament has become such a well oiled machine that she is proud to be from the Prince Rupert area.

"The organization is so much better. Any tournament that I've been to down south is not as organized as this," said Carlick.

Barton agreed with Carlick. The legendary player for the Coast Trojans said that the skill level keeps getting better each year.

"The guys got bigger and faster and there is no half-court game anymore," said Barton.

When asked if the younger version of Barton could compete against today's senior mens squads, Barton said he didn't know.

"Probably, but it would have to be 20 years ago."

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