It’s one thing to get to the big show but it’s another to actually compete and win.
That’s the situation facing the Alberni District Secondary School Armada senior girls basketball team, which earned a berth in this weekend’s Island championships, hosted here in Port Alberni.
The Armada open against Oak Bay and have their work cut out for them, head coach Greg Freethy said.
“We didn’t play them this year but we saw them play in Victoria,” Freethy said. “They play some outstanding ball so we’re going to have to play our A-game every quarter.”
The Armada were 3-1 at the North Islands and 21-14 over the regular season.
They earned their Island entry with a third-place win over GP Vanier at the North Island championships last weekend in Nanaimo.
Other teams competing in the Island championships at ADSS include Oak Bay, Claremont, Stelly’s, Dover Bay, Spectrum, GP Vanier and Ballenas.
Claremont won last year’s Island title and Oak Bay placed second.
The Armada have played Ballenas, Vanier and Dover Bay this year.
They haven’t faced qualifying southern teams this season though.
“There’s some strong teams that are competing,” tournament director Brian Laviolette said.“Oak Bay and Claremont are probably the frontrunners.”
The Armada have strengths of their own and can compete.
The team has four players who stand at least 5’10” so they can play inside the paint.
Leah Hudson can shoot from the outside and Danielle Lessard can drive to the net.
Off the ball the team’s defense is strong and Katrina Hobbs established herself as a gritty two-way player at the North Island tourney.
Hobbs locked up Ballenas standout Darcy Bennett in the Armada’s second game of the North Islands.
The Armada lost but Hobbs held her check to just four points.
“It was the best individual defensive effort I’ve seen of the year,” Freethy said.
While it’s up to the Armada to take care of business on the court, they could use some help off of it too, Freethy said.
“We’re playing on our own turf and in our own gym,” he said.
“Some good fan support will help get us through.”
*Watch www.albernivalleynews.com for tournament updates.