There’s something eerie about the weeks that follow BC Basketball Provincials. For two weeks straight, the high school basketball community is in a frenzy fighting for the banner.
Both girls and boys battle it out in the paint. The crowds grow larger each day leading up to the final game, where only one team stands victorious.
But the calm after the championship game storm is undeniably depressing.
Jerseys sit in laundry hampers and don’t see the light of day for what feels like forever. Basketballs deflate like they belong to the New England Patriots circa 2015.
And if your team wasn’t able to take it all the way to the banner, then the withdrawals post-basketball season are real.
Thankfully, the All-Star Games let us cling to all of the familiar faces just one last time and also catch a glimpse of the shining stars of tomorrow (aka next season).
The Futures game allowed for fans, coaches, and fellow teammates to do just that.
“We just thought it would be really unique to have a Futures game,” said Paul Langford, one of the All-Star Games’ organizers. “Those will be the players that everybody can watch for next year.”
The Futures, just like the Seniors game, saw the Lower Mainland duke it out against the Fraser Valley—who came into the night as a definite favourite. Both game organizers, Langford and Chris Kennedy, had a tough decision to make when choosing girls from each respective region of teams.
“The selection of the girls is the hardest part. So we make some rules around how many girls can play: you can only have two girls from a school on a team (maximum of three girls over both teams). We look for recommendations from coaches and the all-stars from the provincial tournaments and the regional tournaments, and then we have lots of hard decisions to make as we come down to a reasonable number for the teams,” Kennedy said.
With so many talented girls to choose from, it’s no wonder the games are geared to draw an audience. The Futures game gives a reasonable amount of recognition to all those who participate, but the wild part about the game has to be the clash of jerseys blending blissfully together on the court. Each girl reps her home team and sends a reminder to all those watching that next year they’ll be stronger than ever.
Two Semiahmoo Totems completely agree.
“We have pretty much the same team, so our expectations are really high and we’re planning to improve and get better going into next season,” said Grade 9 Izzy Forsyth.
Her fellow teammate Faith Dut says having young team will benefit the Totems in the years to come, too.
“Even after the tournament we just got right back into the gym, working hard, we have to come out with a championship next year.”
The two were most excited to play alongside Tavia Rowell, Walnut Grove’s Grade 11 standout guard, and Deanna Tuchscherer from G.W. Graham. In fact, nearly all of the girls who were invited out to the Futures game were looking forward to playing with or against them.
It’s no surprise, since Rowell stacked up 24 points for the Fraser Valley team.
Though the game started out with the Lower Mainlands in the lead, by the four-minute mark of the first quarter it was clear that the FVs came to win.
Sarah Mouritzen, head coach of the G.W. Graham Grizzlies, says it was an honour to be asked to coach the Fraser Valley girls in the Futures game.
“It’s awesome. I mean, we’re a team full of all stars that are awesome players and it’s just a lot of fun and I’m honoured to have been asked to do it,” she said.
On the Lower Mainland side of the court, St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints Grade 10 guard Jessica Clarke stood out amongst her teammates with 23 points.
She says it was a bit different to play without her sister, Rebecca, on the court alongside her.
“She can get annoying sometimes to play with, so it’s nice to play without her,” said Clarke.
Sophia Kramer of the Sullivan Stars also had some words for her sister, Emma, who was watching from the bleachers.
“I [kept] trying to make eye contact with her, to see if I’m doing something good. I know she’s judging me the whole time,” laughed Sophia. “I want to impress her, to be honest.”
Being in Grade 10, Sophia recognizes how distinctive it is to be playing in the All-Stars game.
“I like how you can trust everyone. You know they have the ability to see that pass or they’ll get that rebound or they’ll work their butt off. Everyone works so hard.”
Back on the Lower Mainland side, Britannia Bruins’ Surprise Munie felt flattered to be invited out to the game, too.
“Honestly, it’s an honour because we’re one of the only schools, my team, representing the east side, so I think it’s such an honour that we get recognized.”
Munie scored 10 points for the LMs and made an incredible impact for the team, despite falling short of the win.
In the end, the Fraser Valley girls defeated the Lower Mainlands by a final score of 107-78.
The atmosphere was quite a contrast to what we were used to seeing this past high school basketball season, especially during provincials. Each girl played with a smile on her face; the competition was still there, but the energy on the court thrived with spirit and excitement.
“It’s a cool opportunity to play with some of the best girls in the province,” said Deanna Tuchscherer.
“I loved the energy of our team; we get excited when we score and everybody’s happy for each other,” said Tavia Rowell.
Aside from the points, the Future girls embraced the chance to play on a team with their usual rivals.
“It’s a good challenge playing around all these great players,” said Sophia Kramer. “It’s really nice playing with them, too. You get to know them better…it’s great!”
The Futures game gave us all a lot to look forward to on the court next season. And now, the countdown begins.
Written by: Crystal Scuor