Another year of Totem has come to an end in Port Alberni, and organizers are calling Totem 65 the biggest event so far.
The Alberni District Secondary School gym was standing room only during Saturday night’s (Jan. 11) feature game, with spectators crowded into the breezeway to watch the home team play.
“It absolutely blew my mind,” said ADSS athletic director Mike Roberts after the game. “I was sitting on the players’ side, having a look across the way, and I don’t believe that I’ve seen a bigger crowd. Not just today, but Thursday and Friday, too. It was fantastic.”
It was a bittersweet ending for ADSS, as both the boys and girls senior teams finished with a fifth place showing at Totem 65. The girls fell 64-53 to Nanaimo District Secondary School on Saturday night, while the boys lost 67-46 to Reynolds.
But for Roberts, it was still a successful tournament.
“Every game was close at Totem this year,” he said. “You want to win, but at the end of the day, if our Alberni teams won the tournament all the time or most times, it wouldn’t be special anymore. It’s about competitive games. We’re proud of the kids and the visiting teams.
“We’ll look ahead to next year and maybe we’ll be lucky enough to be in the first and second place game,” he added.
This year’s tournament did not have an Athletic Wall of Fame inductee, but Saturday night’s feature game included a moment of silence for Denny Grisdale, an influential Port Alberni basketball player and Totem supporter who died in October 2019. Grisdale was one of the organizers who helped to start the “Miss Totem” competition—now called Totem Spirit.
At the end of the night, Alexa Tremblay was crowned the Totem Spirit winner. Tremblay was one of the record 11 Totem candidates this year after the rules were changed to allow individuals to enter.
Emcee Jean Contant thanked all the candidates on Saturday for their enthusiasm throughout the last few weeks.
“This is the first year students have been able to join as individuals,” he explained. “This allowed for more students to be involved, and helped to create even more Totem excitement. These students have demonstrated outstanding school pride and they have all truly exemplified what Totem spirit is all about.”
2. Mark Isfeld
4. Edward Milne
6. St. Patricks
Boys Tournament MVP: Marcus Skan
Girls Tournament MVP: Addy Tupas-Singh
Most Sportsmanlike Team: St. Patrick Celtics
Boys All-Star Team: Zachary Taylor (Isfeld), Temwa Mtawali (Isfeld), Nicholas Gatzke (Carihi), Cam Cyr (ADSS) and Eli Goluza (Reynolds).
Girls All-Star Team: Delayne Madison (Belmont), Abby Duncan (Highland), Ella Parker (PCS), Kristy Innes (NDSS) and Memphis Dick (ADSS).
Totem Spirit Winner: Alexa Tremblay