Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball player Karlie Irg goes for a shot during a Totem Media Day practice in December. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

TOTEM 63: It’s all about defence for the ADSS senior girls Armada

Hoops squad has four returning seniors with Totem experience

The ADSS Armada senior girls’ basketball team started their season 6–0, and coach Ryan Broekhuizen is confident it’s a solid record to bring the team into the Totem 63 basketball tournament.

The tournament features eight boys’ teams and eight girls’ teams playing their respective draws starting Thursday, Jan. 11 at ADSS and culminating with championship games at 5:45 p.m. (girls) and 7:30 p.m. (boys) on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Although Broekhuizen is new to the senior girls’ team this year, he is a familiar face with high school basketball in Port Alberni: he spent the past two years coaching the junior girls’ team, and for six years before that he was the senior boys’ coach.

Broekhuizen inherited a strong squad this year. He has four seniors returning from last year’s team that placed second on the Island in their division, and four new players. “An Island berth in our world is pretty good,” he says.

The girls finished third at last year’s Totem tourney, and Broekhuizen expects them to be strong this year too. Seniors Bree Anderson, Laurel Davidson, Kylie Scott and Karlie Irg all have experience from playing at Totem 62, and they are leaders both on and off the court this year, he said.

“They’re the calming influence of our squad,” he said.

The Armada has bolstered their winning season so far with strong work in the back court. “This year we’re definitely a defensive team. We’re not trying to outscore anybody; we’re going to outwork and defend,” Broekhuizen said.

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“We’ve scored some points this year where we’ve had in the high 60s, low 70s, which for high school is good.” But their goal is to keep other teams from scoring more than 50 points.

The senior girls’ Armada have been playing without their starting point guard, Memphis Dick, a Grade 10 player who was injured in the Armada’s first tournament of the season.

Dick was part of the U16 female basketball team that won silver at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Toronto last summer and has been strong as the Armada’s point guard this year.

“Our first game without (Dick) we had a really tough one because we weren’t used to playing without her,” Broekhuizen said. “We’ve had some players having to take over in that difficult position,” including his daughter, Abby Broekhuizen. “She’s not a true point guard; she’s been really excelling and fitting in with those four seniors really well.”

Broekhuizen hopes Dick will be ready to play by Totem, but said if not she will be back for the playoffs.

The Armada have already faced some of the teams they will see in Totem 63 (other girls’ squads playing in the 16-team tourney include Ballenas, Belmont, Edward Milne, Esquimalt, Kwalikum, Lambrick Park and Pacific Christian). The Armada will face Kwalikum in their first game, 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, two days after a league game in Qualicum Beach.

“We’ll get a good rivalry going in a short time,” Broekhuizen said.

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