For the second straight year, The Big Ticket gave basketball players and fans an amazing tip-off to the season.
"It was an incredible experience and [I was] grateful to be apart of this tournament," said Jordan Hayre, from Gladstone's junior boys team. "It was great to play some top teams and we are looking forward to playing in it next year."
The four winners of the divisions all won in spectacular fashion. In the Junior Girls division, Seaquam defeated local Abbotsford team Yale in a tight game from the opening minute. The Seahawks should be considered one of the favourites for provincials after impressing at The Big Ticket.
In the Junior Boys division, the Burnaby South Rebels showed once again why they're always one of the teams to beat at this age group. They defeated an upstart Gladstone team 65-53 to establish a strong footing for the rest of the season.
Terry Fox defeated Walnut Grove in perhaps a passing of the torch moment in Senior Girls basketball. The Gators have made the past two provincial finals, while the Ravens this year are made up mostly of girls who had won the junior provincial championship last year by going undefeated. It was a close game, but it could signal a shift in girl's basketball in 2020.
Finally, Abbotsford Senior beat local rivals Yale in a rowdy final in The Pit. It was literally shaking at times, and I was squished into the stands trying to cover it all. The Panthers won the game 94-86 after a 3rd quarter surge brought on by the crowd sealed the deal.
And of course, there are all the winners of the scholarships handed out. 40 recipients won a $1,000 scholarship to a post-secondary institution next year, leaving a legacy that goes far beyond basketball.
Next year, The Big Ticket promises to bring more of the same experience to players and fans. While the locations are to be determined, you can bet that even more teams from across the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley will be competing in the biggest opening tournament in basketball.
Click here to register for The Big Ticket 2020 and follow us and Front Court Events on Instagram for updates on the tourney and the basketball scene here as a whole.
Written by: Nick Bondi