B-ball Island championships tip off in Nanaimo

The path to provincials will go through Nanaimo. Two major high school basketball playoff tournaments tip off locally this week.

The path to provincials will go through Nanaimo.

Two major high school basketball playoff tournaments tip off locally this week as the senior AAAA boys’ Island championships will be held at Dover Bay Secondary School and the senior AAA boys’ Islands will take place at Nanaimo District Secondary School.

“There’s a bit of buzz around for our guys that they get to play a big tournament in their home gym in their final high school season,” said Carson Williams, coach of the Dover boys.

The Dolphins expect to be in the mix. They’re coming off a runner-up finish at North Islands, but all the games in the North Division were close this season. The South Division brings some unknowns.

“If we want to beat people this weekend, it’s going to be more about what we do and less about what they do…” Williams said. “As long as we lean on what we know and play together as a team and believe in each other, I think that the possibilities are endless for us.”

The Dolphins tip off the tournament Thursday (Feb. 25) with an 8 p.m. game against the Claremont Spartans.

If Dover can get past Claremont, it will play the Oak Bay Bays in the semifinals Friday at 8 p.m. The Island final is Saturday at 8 p.m.

The NDSS Islanders are also looking to advance through the brackets this weekend.

“Islands is what we all play for, right? The berths to go to provincials,” said Jacob Thom, Isles coach.

He said the tournament will be competitive, with four or five teams considered serious contenders for one of the three berths to provincials.

“It’s not going to be a cakewalk, but we’re definitely hoping that we’re one of the top three teams on the Island at the end of the day,” Thom said.

Playing in their own gym could help their cause.

“It’s going to be very exciting to have the home-court advantage,” said Anders Cederberg, NDSS player. “We’ve got a good group of fans behind us.”

The Islanders have played challenging competition all season, so they should be ready for whatever Islands bring.

“I think we’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing best and just try to execute on offence, play strong defensively and just keep taking it to ’em,” Cederberg said.

Nanaimo tips off the tournament Thursday at 2 p.m. against Victoria. The Wellington Wildcats are on the opposite side of the draw and begin with a game against Reynolds tonight at 7:15 p.m. at NDSS.

Friday’s semifinals are at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. and the Island final will be contested Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

The Nanaimo Christian School Trailblazers begin play at senior A boys’ Island championships at Duncan Christian on Friday.