With the Vic High Totems coming off their hottest season in recent years, the senior boys’ basketball team is turning their sights on a new challenge this week.
The Totems will be competing in and hosting the Vancouver Island AAA Basketball Championships beginning Thursday, with the end goal of making it to provincials.
The Totems have found success on the court this year, finishing the regular season with a 9-1 record. Forward Lyndon Hamilton in particular has been a force to be reckoned, heading into the championships with 157 points and sitting in second place in the league in scoring behind Spectrum’s Jamal Yelahon with 200 points.
Following Hamilton are Chris Niketas with 96 points, Jarius Miclat with 63 and Raphael Macsaquit with 51.
“We’re pretty happy with the success that we’ve had. We knew we had a good team going in, but nothing is guaranteed, you still have to go out there and earn it,” said head coach Cory Ahlers. “The guys have really responded well and come a long way from the learning process and improving as the season continues.”
The team’s success continued at the AAA senior boys’ basketball South Island (City) Championships, also at Vic High. Victoria defeated Royal Bay, as well as Reynolds Secondary 67-50 to claim the championship title over the weekend.
Heading into Island champs, the team’s goal is simple — to win by using their speed, creating a fast-paced game on the court and forcing teams to make quick decisions under pressure.
The top four teams from the Island champs, which include the south and north divisions, will move on to provincials in the coming weeks.
The Totems made an appearance at Islands last year, but dropped both games. This year, the team is heading into Islands ranked number one in the city and will take on Bellenas Secondary on Thursday at 2 p.m.
For Ahlers, the Totems’ success is part of a long-term vision to reinvigorate the school’s basketball program.
“There’s a bigger picture here were we want to build a good program here at Vic High,” he said.
“It’s about building a program to something bigger than just our short-term success . . . We want to make a name for ourselves and the program, and show people that you can still have success even if you don’t have the best facilities or the most funding.”
The Vancouver Island AAA Basketball Championships take place at Vic High (1260 Grant St.) Feb. 23 to Feb. 25.