New Westminster Secondary School has one of the loudest high school gyms you will ever walk in to. That makes it the perfect place for a tournament like The Big Ticket.
The energy inside the gym is palpable, it never really gets quiet during tense moments. Instead, it just gets louder. Sure, the walls help in terms of giving something for the sound to bounce off of but there has got to be something in the air that makes the crowd roar absolutely every single made bucket, steal, stop and block.
As happy as the Senior Boys high school teams are to be here, equally happy is the host school to have them.
“I really like the idea,” said New Westminster Hyacks Head Coach Ted Cusick, who like a good host is overseeing all the games at New Westminster Secondary School. “It gets them excited; it gets me excited for them,” he said.
“I like the fact that everyone gets three games,” said Cusick, happy about an early exhibition tournament before the start of the high school season.
“It’s a good kick off, I like the idea, and okay, now we know what we need to work on,” said Cusick about how The Big Ticket offers him a better opportunity to assess his team in the early goings of the season.
“We’ve been practicing for two months, not seeing anybody else and we’re tired of each other. Then all of a sudden, it’s ‘okay, we haven’t worked on our press, we haven’t done this’ and it just shows really early what our mistakes are and what we have to work on,” added Coach Cusick
Two days into The Big Ticket, Coach Cusick and his senior boys don’t have much of a reason to be upset, winning their first game yesterday by beating the Earl Marriot Mariners 68 to 52. They followed that with another strong showing, beating the Pinetree Timberwolves by a score of 77 to 63.
As loud as the crowd was for most of the games, they absolutely lost their mind when 6’7” player Kirk Bothwell exploded for a dunk.
Still, always the coach, Cusick pointed out that his bigs aren’t having as much of an inside presence as he would like, something that attributes to the “Curry Effect” referring to of course Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry’s ability to change the geometry of offences and defences alike with his long range threat.
“In the high school game, you need those big kids inside,” said Cusick, “you have to change their attitude somehow.”
“I’m working on it,” added Cusick, with a dramatic pause for effect.
But by the same token, Cusick said his teams are shooting more threes in his over decade long career at New Westminster. In Cusick’s own words – “if you’re open, you’re allowed to shoot a three – three points is better than two!”
And in the gym of New Westminster Secondary school, whether it be a dunk or a three, the crowd will always be roaring.
By: Mohak Sood