The ADSS cheerleaders perform a routine during the halftime of Saturday night’s feature game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

TOTEM 65: Biggest event yet, ADSS organizers say

Alberni Armada teams finish in fifth place in 65th annual basketball tourney

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.”

READ MORE: Alberni kicks off Totem tournament with wins against Kwalikum

READ MORE: Armada senior girls lose heartbreaker to Highland from Comox

READ MORE: Armada boys lose heartbreaker to Carihi in second game of home tourney

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.”

Final Standings:


1. Carihi

2. Mark Isfeld

3. Reynolds

4. Edward Milne


6. Stellys

7. Ballenas

8. Kwalikum


1. PCS

2. Highland


4. Belmont


6. St. Patricks

7. Ballenas

8. Kwalikum

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

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The crowd at the Crow’s Nest cheers for Gus Brooks on the ADSS Senior Boys team. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Memphis Dick receives an all-star nod from tournament director Greg Freethy. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Alberni’s Cameron Cyr receives an all-star nod from tournament director Greg Freethy. (ELENA RARDON /ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

ADSS player Ja’ered Atleo takes a shot during Saturday night’s game against Reynolds. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The ADSS cheerleaders perform from the sidelines during a timeout on Saturday night. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

ADSS player Abbie Dods dribbles around an NDSS player during Saturday night’s game. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Alexa Tremblay is congratulated by her classmates as she receives her Totem Spirit crown on Saturday night. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Alberni’s Isaac Jack reaches for the ball during a game against Reynolds on Saturday, Jan. 11. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

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