Not only did the SMUS Senior basketball girls qualify for the Provincial Tournament in Kamloops this year, but we will also arrive with the prestigious title of Island Champions. I wish I could say we effortlessly beat opponent after opponent, but such was not the case. The metaphorical journey to Kamloops has had its fair share of blood, sweat and tears.
It all started when the Senior girl’s season ended sooner than we wanted during the last Island Championships. Back then we could have been classified as one of the more “inexperienced” teams in the league as we had only one returning Grade 12 player and the Grade 11 players were just being introduced to a competitive league. We felt a bit low after losing our last game but collectively, in the hotel rooms as we packed to go home, the team decided we would work extra hard off-season to become “the team to beat.” I guess there is truth to the famous quote by Joe Paterno who eloquently said, “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital,” because a week later, some of us were already back on the court.
After a restful summer in September and October there was open gym sessions every Monday and Wednesday evenings. It wasn’t mandatory but it was fun for those who had time to shoot around or scrimmage against their friends for an hour and a half. Also, it was a great time to play against my coaches to see if they really knew how to play (which they definitely do). Once November rolled around, our full squad was back in motion with practices three days during the week and once a weekend coached by the devoted Gary Brooke (otherwise known as “GB”) and former Vikes MVP, Ms. Brooke. As the season progressed, we had practices and games throughout the weekday and we participated in exposition tournaments on the weekends. All the practice was intense and the players sacrificed a lot of their Fridays and Saturdays, but we improved immensely with the extra games, making it worth it in the end.
In the game for 1st place, we were matched with Carihi, the only AA school on the island that we lost to by only one basket a month earlier. As one can imagine, the game started with SMUS hungry for not only sweet revenge, but for that trophy. Right off the bat the Senior girls got into it and the score was tight up to the last minute. When there was only 50 seconds left in the game we were leading by a single basket. As we were counting down that last minute however, Carihi had no choice but to foul and take our player to the line for foul shots in hopes that we would miss and they would get the ball back. Unfortunately for them, however, we made our foul shots and didn’t allow them to make any shots when they got the ball back. Eventually, when the clock went to 0 seconds let’s just say our team looked a lot like this:
(I couldn’t find a picture of us that looked like that but you get the picture)
So here we are now and as this blog is being published, we are either sleeping on the bus somewhere between Victoria or Kamloops, or playing an intense game of basketball. No matter what we’re doing though, I know we are having a blast.