At 6-foot-5, Nathan Stellaard is the ADSS Armada senior boys’ basketball team’s tallest player. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

TOTEM 64: Armada boys show hustle, heart on the basketball court

Alberni high school gets set to host 64th annual Totem tournament Jan. 10–12

The ADSS Armada senior boys’ basketball team is having a “dilly” of a season so far. And while last year’s third-place finishers aren’t necessarily favourites going into their 64th annual Totem tournament this weekend, they have heart.

There are six boys’ and six girls’ teams featured in Totem 64. The boys’ teams include Ballenas, Edward Milne, Kwalikum, Mark Isfeld, Reynolds, Spectrum and Stellys.

While the Armada are busy rebuilding after losing some seniors following last season, they are already proving they’re willing to put everything into the team. You could almost say they are taking charge in that respect.

Something that head coach Craig Brooks instituted is giving a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar to any player who takes a charge during a game. A charge is when a defensive player establishes position as the ball handler comes in toward them. When the ball handler makes contact it usually forces the defensive player to hit the floor.

“It’s probably the most unselfish stat in all of sports,” Brooks said.

So far, Cameron Cyr is leading the pack in charges—and Dilly bars—with six charges taken in the Armada’s first two league games of the season.

“I would argue that he probably leads the entire league,” Brooks said.

“There are other guys who have one or two. It’s a constant thing we’re pushing all the time. The guys love it—they’re going to make me go broke at this rate.”

The Armada boys finished third in Totem 63, winning their last game against Esquimalt 67–51 to earn third place.

READ MORE: Alberni teams finish strong at Totem 63

They will play their first game in the Totem 64 tourney against Kwalikum at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10. Whether they end up in the final on Saturday remains to be seen.

“It is a bit of a rebuilding year,” said Jayson Matthews, who is in his second year with the Armada. “I like the squad—we’ve got a lot of quality guys on the team—guys who know the team comes first and hustle. Hustle wins games.”

The Armada played their first three league games against three of the top teams on the Island, but Matthews said they stayed strong despite losses.

“We’ll come out for our next few games ready to play, ready to win.”

READ MORE: Alberni Armada senior boys drop home game to Barsby

The tournament will be a special one for Matthews. His grandfather, Elmer Matthews, will be inducted into the ADSS athletic department’s Wall of Fame in the builder category for starting the Totem tournament 64 years ago. The younger Matthews will be there to witness it. The Wall of Fame induction ceremony will take place just before the 7 p.m. feature game in the ADSS gym.

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