Maaqtusiis Secondary School senior boys and senior girls basketball teams head to the Vancouver Island Senior A Championships this week.
The senior boys, coached by John Kennedy Frank and Floyd Campbell Jr., play their first game of the Nanaimo tournament on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. against Chemainus. Maaqtusiis enter the tournament seeded second out of eight teams.
The senior girls, coached by Amy Jack, play two games in Duncan on Friday, Feb. 21. Their first game is against St. Margaret’s at 3:45 p.m. and the second is a 7:45 p.m. match up against Duncan Christian. The girls are seeded third out of six teams.
Athletic director Cedar Wechlin said Maaqtusiis is back on the map for basketball.
“Our community has taken a huge hit with Travis Thomas [no longer coaching the team]. He was our boys high school coach for the longest time. For the last two years, our boys haven’t had a team to play school ball. This year we are back on top of it and training hard,” said Wechlin.
Maaqtusiis senior boy Matty Frank averaged 18 points per game for during regular season. Frank, the only Grade 12 on the team this year, will captain his crew of 10 throughout the Island Championships.
“He’s just a really great all-around student athlete. I would love to see him go off to play college basketball on the Island somewhere. He has potential to do that,” Wechlin said.
On the senior girls side, Sierra Frank and Juniper John round off the team as the veteran Grade 12s.
“Juniper is actually on Team B.C. for riffle shooting,” notes Wechlin, adding that a major highlight for the girls was a trip to Hawaii over the Christmas break.
“They beat several schools in Hawaii. They are American schools, so that’s actually an advantage,” he said.
Wechlin told the Westerly it costs about $5,000 to get both teams to the Island Championships. The players have hosted several fundraising events in effort to raise the money needed for the journey.
“Just to get the kids off Ahousaht is $300 to $400 boat ride. It’s been a real struggle financially getting the program back on board,” he said. Maaqtusiis Secondary is located in Ahousaht village on Flores Island, which is about 21 km north of Tofino.
Both the Maaqtusiis senior boys and senior girls basketball teams are two wins away from qualifying for the Provincials on March 4 to 7 in Langley, notes Wechlin.
“If they win their next two games they will go to Provincials. That’s huge. It would make history in Ahousaht,” said Wechlin.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Maaqtusiis athletics program is encouraged to contact Wechlin at: email@example.com or call (250) 913-0379.