The Alberni District Secondary School boys’ basketball team will play in the championship game of their own tournament on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, while the ADSS girls’ lost a heartbreaker in Day 2 action at Totem 67.
The ADSS boys gained a quick lead in the first quarter of their game against Stelly’s and never looked back. They led 58-40 at halftime. Although Stelly’s had a short run on baskets late in the third quarter and a strong start in the fourth, Alberni was able to increase the points spread and finished the game with a 95-74 victory.
The ADSS boys will play Carihi High from Campbell River in the championship game at 7 p.m. at the ADSS Gym.
For the girls, defending Totem champions, losing to Belmont 56-40 was their first key loss since the B.C. provincials last year. There were more than a few tears shed in the locker room following the game, coach Steve Sperger said.
“In the change room we had a few tears we had to wipe off, because that’s how much they care,” he said.
“Belmont’s a good team. They were a provincial level team last year and they are again this year. The girls played hard. They worked all game long, gave their best effort. That’s all I can ask as a coach,” added Sperger, who is in his first year coaching the ADSS girls alongside Neelam Parmar.
“We’re still young, we’re still learning, we’re still coming together. The girls are not in their natural positions. We have a lot of post players that are learning to play different positions this year.”
“Today was definitely a challenge,” senior Hannah Rust said.
“We played this team last year so we had an idea of what we were up against. It was a pretty physical game today, so I think we’re going to have some bruises tomorrow.
She said there were many returning players on the Belmont roster, some she didn’t expect to see back at Totem. “I think they’re really only missing one other player (from last season).”
Natalie Clappis praised her teammates for playing a solid defensive game, and Rust said there wasn’t much more they could have thrown at Belmont.
The ADSS girls will play NDSS in their final game on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. in the ADSS gym. Sperger predicts it will be a close game: NDSS is a AAAA school and their coach is experienced. “I think we’re going to match up,” Sperger said.
“It’s interesting, they kind of run the same offence and same defence as we do, so we’ll just see which team executes a little bit better.”
For the players, especially those in Grade 12 who will be playing their final Totem game, the finale will be bittersweet. Taylor, who could possibly come back next year, said it will be important to “stay positive and leave our last game behind. We know we can do better.”
“It will be a new day, a new game and we just have to focus on what we’ve got to do tomorrow,” Clappis said.
Rust wants to leave a legacy for next year’s players in the best way the seniors know how. “I just want to leave it all out there. It’s our last chance to do this in front of the crowd.”
TIP-OFFS…Former ADSS girls’ coach Ryan Broekhuizen was back in the ADSS house on Friday to watch both the girls’ and boys’ games. Broekhuizen and coach Neelam Parmar were behind the bench for the girls’ championships in 2021-22…A trio of honourees will be inducted into the ADSS Wall of Fame during Saturday night’s festivities. The Totem Spirit candidate will also be crowned.