The Charles Hays Secondary (CHSS) junior boys’ Rainmakers basketball squad represented Prince Rupert proudly at the BC High School Basketball Provincial Championships last week in Langley.
Thirty-two teams in all took part in the province-wide tourney and the CHSS junior boys placed 26th overall, despite being seeded 15th heading into the tournament.
“I am happy that our team got the opportunity to compete at the BC Championships and gain valuable exposure to a level of play that they hadn’t fully experienced during the regular season,” said head coach Kevin Sawka.
“For all players involved, this was a fresh look for each of them at provincials. I was proud that we were in contention of all the games we played, with the exception of Game One.”
That game was a 43-66 loss for CHSS to Richmond’s Stevenston-London Secondary. Game Two was quite closer, but the Rainmakers again fell to St. Thomas More Collegiate of Burnaby, 40-31.
Game Three was a nail-biter. A 51-50 loss to Kelowna brought CHSS’ record to 0-3. Game Four brought the Makers’ lone win of the tournament – a 51-44 victory over Prince George’s DP Todd, a team with much history with the Rainmakers.
Game Five was a 49-39 loss to Langley’s Brookswood Secondary.
“I feel the experience gained from provincials this year has allowed our players to see what their maximum effort could be, and fuel them to reach that potential as their new ‘normal’ for performance. I think our team worked hard throughout the year, but an individual doesn’t truly know what their maximum effort is until they have been pushed to that point in competition. That is why I say that the post season experience gained this year has allowed each of these boys to come to a new awareness of their individual effort and performance. I am excited to see how each of them uses that new awareness to push themselves from within to achieve even greater heights next year,” said coach Sawka.
The team will have six Grade 9s returning to the squad in fall 2016, which should posture them to have another run at a provincial title.
“We have a very solid cohort of Grade 8s coming into the high school next year that will complement those returnees to form a potentially formidable squad at the junior level again. It is with a heavy heart that we pass on nine grade 10s to the varsity level for next year’s season. With over 300 hours of just practice time logged together over the past two seasons, the relationships forged with each of these kids is a privileged one, and one that I relish,” he added.
The Grade 10s moving on include Malcolm Brown, Christian Clifton, Eric Tubb, Ezekiel Appollos, Cedric McKay, Cole Jeffrey, Dorian Robinson, and Jalen Stanley.
“With such a large tournament, the team that won was going to need not only talent and poise, but a little bit of luck on their side over the course of five games in four days. [Mill Bay’s] Brentwood College School won the tournament, defeating [Langley’s] Walnut Grove in an action- packed final,” said the coach.