The West Coast will get the season’s first taste of basketball action this weekend as Ucluelet hosts its fourth annual Basketball on the Edge Tournament.
The Ucluelet Secondary School Warriors are ready to host teams from Gold River, Nanaimo and Chemainus in the two-day tournament in front of their hometown fans Dec. 7-8.
“Come support our youth who are living a healthy, active life and doing good things on weekends,” said Warriors team manager Jason Sam, adding vocal spectators add energy to the court.“We have quite a few really vocal fans. Our gym, when it is full, is one of the loudest gyms of the tournaments that we go to.”
The tournament will be the Warriors’ first games of the season and will kick off what Sam sees as a rebuilding year for the team, which saw its core members all graduate at the end of last season. Last year’s team enjoyed a strong season, winning the North Island Championships, but narrowly fell short in the Island Championships’ semi-finals and ultimately placed fourth.
The young team will have no senior players on it when it takes to the court on Friday.
“It’s an extremely young and small team going in,” Sam said. “We are going to use this as an experience-gaining tournament to put these kids into competition that might be above their level.”
He added the team will head to Belmont to compete in a junior tournament the next weekend.
“The kids will be going from playing really tough opponents that are older than them to kids their own age,” he said. “We’ll see what works and what doesn’t work. We have a very talented group of junior kids and if they stay together as a core…by the time they’re in grade 12 they’re going to be a fantastic team.”