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SKC teams reign over tournament

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Eleven women’s teams and 12 men’s teams joined the Salish Kootenai College Bison and Lady Bison Thursday through Sunday for the 2014 American Indian Higher Education Consortium National Basketball Tournament hosted by SKC in Pablo. Teams represented colleges from Montana, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona and Minnesota.

At noon on Saturday, the Lady Bison challenged the Lady Jegos of Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Community College, leading throughout until just under three minutes left. The Jegos tied it up twice within the final minutes, but the SKC ladies kept their composure and pulled out the 92-86 win.

At the same time, the SKC guys stomped on Blackfeet Community Colleges’ Piikani Thunder as the Bison worked their way to the championship match Sunday afternoon.

Both SKC men’s and women’s teams played Northwest Indian College from La Conner, Wash., in the championship round, with the Bison squeaking past their opponent in a heart-stopping 105-104 victory. The Lady Bison also sealed the championship win, 72-63.

The goal of the tournament, according to Juan Perez, tournament coordinator, is to help build friendships that last a lifetime among tribal colleges.

“Coming together in the spirit of community wellness and student engagement to strengthen our tribal communities is critical and essential to our growth,” Perez said.

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