Maaqtusiis Secondary School senior girls basketball team are going to the Provincial Championships in Kelowna on March 4 to 7.
The Ahousaht-based female basketball squad placed second out of six teams at the Vancouver Island Championships in Duncan on Feb. 21 to 22, giving them an automatic ticket to the best of B.C. basketball tournament. The last time Ahousaht sent a team to Provincials was in 2009.
“They played hard. They came in as the third seed and worked themselves up to second seed and now they have a Provincial berth,” said Maaqtusiis athletic director Cedar Wechlin.
Maaqtusiis girls set the pace for a successful tournament by defeating Queen Margaret’s 87-25 in their first game. Dalainee John earned game all-star. They went on to beat Duncan Christian 62-54 and then Nanaimo Christian 77-70. Maaqtusiis players Weslia Tom and Sereana Kaloucokovale earned game all-stars, respectively. They fell 64-42 against St. Andrews in the final game of the Island Championships. Janae Sam was honoured with player of the game.
On the boys side, Maaqtusiis placed third out of eight teams in the 2020 Vancouver Island Championships hosted by Nanaimo Christian. They won three of the four games played over the three-day tournament, and travelled back to Ahousaht with the title of Most Sportsmanlike Team.
“It was actually a unanimous vote by all the referees and coaches. When they gave us the award, you could tell they were really honoured to give it to us,” said Wechlin. “There is a bit of a back story to that. About four or five years ago, we had a really bad rivalry with Nanaimo Christian. There were fights and RCMP was called in, but I really worked with these boys to help them understand what it means to just take it out on the court. We get to walk away with that win, and they’re still mad, you know?” he told the Westerly.
Fans from Ahousaht, Port Alberni and Nanaimo all came out to support the kids, Wechlin notes.
“I had a lot of compliments this weekend for the boys team. A lot of coaches kept coming up to me and telling me that everybody just loves to watch the Maaqtusiis players play,” he said.
Maaqtusiis senior boys will double back to Nanaimo on Feb. 25 to play a challenge game against Duncan Christian for a chance to go to Provincials.