The Prince Rupert Middle School Storm Grade 8 boys basketball team won the BC Northwest Zone Championship on Feb. 19.
Hosted in Prince Rupert, the Storm beat Skeena Middle School 65-28 in the final to bring home the regional banner.
“The weekend was a great success,” Anthony Yecyec, assistant coach, said. “To have the kids be competitive, represent their school and be successful was all that we were hoping for.”
Being able to host the zones tournament with an audience at 50 per cent capacity was also a bonus thanks to pandemic restrictions easing, Yecyec said.
The Storm entered the tournament as the first seed after an undefeated 6-0 regular season, which earned them a first-round bye.
On their way to the final, the Storm only needed to overcome one opponent. Facing Bulkley Valley Christian School, the Storm showed their quality by dominating the visitors 69-17 to then qualify for the finals.
The Storm focused on locking down their defence throughout the tournament, Yecyec said.
“Because these guys are so talented offensively, we knew the offence would come [naturally],” the assistant coach said.
The Storm made no secret of their strategy as the whole bench rhythmically chanted “defence” throughout both games each time the opponents gained possession of the ball.
The tournament and season success was all due to the team’s “coachability,” Yecyec said. Since day one of basketball season, the boys have shown attentiveness, a willingness to listen with an engaged commitment to the team, and a passion for the sport, he said.
The boys’ combined effort and ability to put their game plan to action is what allowed them to win in “spectacular fashion all year long,” the coach said.
Though the season is over and the team will not be participating in the provincial tournament, they will play at least one more tournament.
Prince George Secondary School invited the Grade 8 team to participate on Feb. 25 in the Northern Junior B Year-Endtournament, a Grade 9 basketball event created this year.
Though competing for nothing else than bragging rights, the Storm will be guaranteed at least another four competitive games.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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