The Alberni Armada held a wrap-up of the high school basketball season for players and coaches on March 1. It was a chance for athletes to participate in recreational co-ed and multi-age games to get to know each other and feel a part of a larger family. It was also a time to recognize the hard work teammates and coaches displayed all season.
When Neelam Parmar started coaching basketball at the high school five years ago, each of the junior and senior boys and girls’ teams held their own season finales. It was then that he decided to combine them all into one large event with a dinner and awards ceremony.
“Out of the four teams, we created six mini-teams and it was a fun way to finish off the season,” Parmar said.
The highlight this year was the junior girls. The young team finished in third place at the Vancouver Island championships.
“It was a successful year for the junior girls,” Parmar said. “As they transition over the next couple of years to the senior team, they will be one the community will want to watch. They will be a contender for the Islands.”
At the senior level, the boys attended the North Islands and the girls made it to compete at the Islands.
Players of all levels went home from the wrap-up with a variety of awards.
Nick Donahue was the senior boys Most Valuable Player of the year. On the team for the past four years, the Grade 12 student proved to be a hard worker and was dedicated to attending practices.
“It was a shock,” Donahue said.
He said he learned the importance of team work and hard work.
“The memories I made with the team will last forever,” he said. “They will be my best memories of high school.”
Junior girls player, Laurel Davidson received an award for Leadership and Dedication and said the highlight for her was the Island Championships.
“Coming in third was very exciting,” she said. “The fact that we seemed like the underdog at the beginning, we were shocked at the outcome. We worked really hard for it and were surprised how it went.”
The new transition this year to middle schools resulted in a lack of a full Grade 8 boys team, but Parmar said a growing interest at the elementary level should solve that.
“We had a hard time finding a coach to facilitate a team, but we have it covered for next year,” he said. “Some tried out and made the junior level but in a perfect world it would have been nice to have full Grade 8 girls and boys’ teams.”
That growing interest was evident at the Elementary Basketball Jamboree in February. Twenty-two teams, including 11 Grade 4/5’s and 11 Grade 6/7’s, took part in the wind-up event.
“The numbers are there, so if we can keep them up, when they come through in the next five years, basketball will be strong in the Valley,” Parmar said.
Complete year-end award winners from the high school include:
Top Defensive Player – Karlie Irg
Award for Leadership and Dedication – Laurel Davidson
Most Valuable Player – Briana Anderson
Most Valuable Player – Cameron Cyr
Award for Dedication – Gus Brooks
Award for Grit and Determination – Matthew Graydon
Top Defensive Player – Mya Smith
Most Valuable Player – Chantelle Knighton
Top Defensive Player – Trevor Frank
Top Offensive Player – Coby Felsman Jr.
Most Valuable Player – Nick Donahue