by Andrea Arnold

McBride’s Senior Boys Basketball has had a great season making their way to Provincials. Next year they’ll be ready.

The Sr. Boys Basketball team has returned form their experience at provincials. They headed down to Langley ranked #14 out of 16 teams.

They played four games and won against the #10 ranked team. The team walked into the tournament and were completely overwhelmed by the intensity and size of the event.

“At first, I was a little awe-struck, walking into a massive building with tons of other kids,” said co-captain Tavish Swets. “Some seven foot giants were walking around in the crowd making me wonder if we made it to the wrong place. But then I told myself, we proved ourselves just like everybody else to be here.”

The Mustang team represented the smallest school in the tournament. The McBride high school has a limited pool from which to pull players. It was surprising to the people from outside the area that this size of community could put together such a highly skilled and motivated team.

The focus of the trip was obviously the basketball games. Between games, the team spent time keeping up on their school work, and making a few memories exploring the Lower Mainland.  One memory that will stand out in the players’ minds, was the trip to White Rock.  The whole team climbed the big rock on the beach for a photo opp. More specifically for Swets, the memory of helping Tyler Neimi make the assent to join his teammates. Neimi had rolled his ankle in the first game and was unable to play for the rest of the tournament.

The games played were intense, the level of play not something the Mustangs had experienced.  “We were awestruck and unweathered to the high caliber ball that was down there” said Swets.  “With what we now know, I believe they won’t freeze and will be ready for next year.”

Shaeman Pauls came away from the event with a new appreciation for physical conditioning and practice. “I learned that I need to train very hard to catch up with a lot of these insane players” he said.

The team attended the 4A final game between Kelowna Secondary and Lord Tweedsmuir on Saturday evening. This event was a highlight for most of them and an inspiration. Watching Lord Tweedsmuir come from behind to win gold was a great example to players to never give up.

For Swets, this was his final basketball event as a high school student. “The best part for me was to make more memories with my team that I will always cherish and remember,” he said.  “We are more than just a team, we are family, who will always be there for each other.”

The team would like to once again thank everyone that has supported their journey this season. The fundraising that the community provided was more than they needed for the trip. The team was careful with their spending and will be leaving next year’s team with the surplus funds. This money will be used to help cover expenses such as travel, accommodation, transportation and uniforms.