Paziuk twins make Clippers tick against Vikings
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Kara and Ava Paziuk are about to cause double trouble for AAA basketball teams.
The Dauphin Clippers twins kicked off their Grade 11 season with a 61-32 win over the Vincent Massey Vikings to begin the Crocus Plains Early Bird varsity girls’ basketball tournament on Friday.
Ava had a game-high 16 points and Kara added 10 while controlling the Clippers on both ends in her first start as the team’s point guard.
“It felt really amazing,” Ava said. “It was really great to start our season.”
Ryan DeGroot led the Vikings with 10 points while Kypling Black recorded eight as they fell to the consolation side.
Dauphin plays Neelin in the semifinals today at 9 a.m., in a rematch of last year’s provincial semifinal. The Spartans were in total control before the Clippers outscored them 29-4 in the final quarter. Dauphin ultimately lost the gold-medal game to St. James but carried a ton of confidence into this season.
“It was insane, absolutely crazy,” Kara said. “Our bench was going wild. We just thought ‘We have to do it.’ We had beaten Neelin before, we’re going to beat them again.
“That fourth quarter is how we play as a team … the fourth quarter is when we showed up.”
Added Ava: “That put us in a really great mindset heading into this season as well because we know we can beat anyone we really need to beat.”
The Paziuks, both five-foot-five guards, learned a ton from Brandon University Bobcats rookie Cali Hudyma, who led them in scoring a season ago.
They started playing basketball in Grade 6 and decided it was their main sport in Grade 8. They attended a Legion Athletic Camp week that year before it permanently ceased operations, and have since joined Basketball Manitoba’s Rural Targeted Athlete Program (TAP).
They travelled to Brandon to train under coach Matt McLeod, one of Neelin varsity girls’ head coach Carey Lasuik’s assistants.
The Paziuks also spent plenty of time working with Hudyma’s father, Steve, to improve their skills and athleticism during the summer.
Why not take it easy during the break?
“I want to win, I want to make my team better and I love the sport,” Kara said.
“I just want to make Dauphin proud because we are very underrepresented as a small, rural community. I want to bring home that (provincial) banner.”
Ava and Kara complement each other well. While Kara handles the ball, she’s a pass-first guard and takes pride in finding teammates in good positions. Ava has a terrific sense of how to play without the ball and make the most of her touches. Both are fierce on defence and crash the glass with purpose.
“(Kara) really looks for the open people on offence, she makes really good passes, she can drive and she’s a pretty good shooter as well. A triple threat,” Ava said.
“She’s very aware of her surroundings and is a great teammate … and can lift people up on the court,” Kara replied.
“(Playing together) is literally a dream come true.”
EARLY BIRD RESULTS
The host Plainsmen punched their ticket to today’s final at 3:30 p.m., with a 57-38 triumph over the Warren Wildcats.
Rylee Wiebe notched 20 points and Alanah Gushulak added 15 for Crocus. Colby Darragh had 10 points for Warren and Rianna Cassels chipped in seven.
The Plainsmen opened with a 75-22 victory over the Neepawa Tigers. Gushulak led Crocus with 14 points while Colsie Lewis scored 12.
Darragh notched 24 points as Warren beat Virden 58-41 in the first round. Fiona Garcia led the Golden Bears with 27 points.
On the other half of the draw, Neelin dropped Swan Valley 94-38 as Danica Black and Tyra Lasuik netted 21 points each and Karla Vlok added 18. Crystal Zamzow led the Tigers with 12.
» Twitter: @thomasmfriesen