The senior boys’ and girls’ basketball teams practice in the ADSS gym during Totem media day on Thursday, Dec. 12. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

TOTEM 65: Basketball tournament to celebrate its 65th year

Totem is the longest-running high school basketball tournament in the province

The longest-running high school basketball tournament in the province will return to Port Alberni in the new year.

Alberni District Secondary School’s (ADSS) Totem tournament will celebrate its 65th year in January 2020. The three-day tournament will run from Thursday, Jan. 9 to Saturday, Jan. 11 and will feature not only the ADSS basketball teams, but also the ADSS cheer and dance teams, performances from the pep band and a Totem Spirit contest.

READ MORE: Alberni’s basketball tournament celebrates history

Totem began in 1955 as a four-team boys’ tournament, and expanded to eight teams in 1982. The girls’ teams were added in 2011. The games traditionally have hundreds of spectators in the audience.

“You will experience the most crowds of any high school tournament in the province, outside of the provincials,” said athletic director Mike Roberts. “It’s absolutely crazy, but in a fun way.”

This year’s Totem Spirit competition will feature 11 candidates, which is a new record. The Friday night feature game has been moved to Saturday night, which means the closing ceremony will be filmed and streamed by Shaw TV. The ADSS senior boys and girls teams always play in the feature games each night.

“That Saturday evening is looking to be really quite something,” said Roberts. “[It’s] a lot of energy, a lot of fun. Come early, otherwise I can’t guarantee you’ll get a seat.”

Totem 65 kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 5:15 p.m. with a game between the ADSS Senior Boys and the Kwalikum Senior Boys. The ADSS Senior Girls will take on the Kwalikum Senior Girls at 7 p.m.

Admission is $5 for everyone on Thursday (free for ages 5 and under). On Friday and Saturday, admission is $5 per day for ages 5-11 and $8 per day for ages 12 and up. A tournament pass is $10 for ages 5-11 and $15 for ages 12 and up.

Girls Teams: ADSS, Ballenas, Belmont, Highland, Kwalikum, Nanaimo, Pacific Christian and St. Patrick.

Boys Teams: ADSS, Ballenas, Carihi, Edward Milne, Kwalikum, Mark Isfeld, Reynolds and Stellys.

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