The start of fall means many things to people. For us at BC Sports Hub, it specifically means the beginning of another high school basketball season.
And there's no better way to tip it all off than at The Big Ticket, the biggest tournament to start the BC high school basketball season. With over 100 teams from all different tiers ranging from Junior Girls to Senior Boys, it promises to be an excellent showcase for all the talent this province has to offer.
To get you pumped and prepared for the tourney, we'll be previewing all the teams before the first games start on November 25th. Think of this as the NFL Red Zone — a little bit sized preview of each team, five at a time until the tournament begins. Let's get started!
Vancouver College - Junior Boys
The junior boys Irish squad finished 5th in the province last year as a group of grade eights. This year, they have their eyes set on the grade Grade 9 Provincial Championship and are hoping that going into a couple of high-quality Junior Tournaments will help them, achieve this.
The goal from playing in The Big Ticket is to "experience playing older dude as well as making a little noise against older teams, and maybe winning a couple of games" said their head coach Ryan Shams. Keep your eye out for Mikyle Malabuyoc and Kai Gibbons, two players who have impressed at Bballnationals before.
Riverside - Senior Girls
The Riverside Rapids finished 5th at provincials last year and ended with an impressive 31-5 overall record. Perhaps their highlight of the season was winning the prestigious Victoria Christmas Tournament, and their goal is to "be competitive with the top teams in the province" once again according to coach Jeremy Neufeld.
This year's Rapids team is marked by its depth, where "any player could be our best on ay given night" said Neufeld. The Rapids will be one of the host schools, so expect big things for them this tourney.
Saint Patrick's - Senior Boys
Saint Patrick's season was marked by games they didn't win against Vancouver College and Saint George's. They came close however and head coach Nap Santos is firm when he says "the time has come that we finally beat them". This year the team is moving up from AA to AAA and Santos feels that the Celtics "have a good core group of kids that will get us to compete for the blue banner."
Keep your eyes peeled for Daniel Marcelo, Jose Malabanan and Defensive Player of the Year in the Junior Provincials Justin Macatangay.
Yale - Senior Girls
The Lions secured a berth in the provincial tournament last season with a big win in the Fraser Valley tournament — by far the toughest tournament to qualify out of in girls basketball. Well respected head coach Bobby Braich is looking forward to competing in a high profile tournament with good competition "will help identify what we need to work on." Neelam Rai is poised for a breakout year after a solid grade 11 campaign.
Mulgrave School - Senior Boys
Mulgrave is aiming high this year. Coach Claude Leduc has a talented squad of grade 11's that has finally moved up to the senior ranks. After making the NSSSAA Playoffs and the championship game in two tournaments, he's hoping that the high-quality competition can help give him an early gauge on the strengths of his team.
Written by: Nick Bondi