Basketball playoffs tip off

NANAIMO – Wellington Secondary School hosts the North Island championships for senior AA boys' basketball this week.

Wellington Wildcats player Elijah Thornton

Wellington Wildcats player Elijah Thornton

It’s that time of the season when the games matter most. Most of Nanaimo’s high school basketball teams tip off playoffs this week.

The biggest b-ball games in town will be at the Wellington Secondary School gym, where three local teams qualified to compete in the North Island senior AA boys’ championships.

The host Wellington Wildcats will be one of the favourites and the Woodlands Eagles are also expected to make it through the tournament and advance to Island championships. The Cedar Spartans will be in the mix this weekend, too.

Cedar tips off North Islands today (Feb. 16) at noon against the Ladysmith 49ers. Next up is Woodlands, which takes on Timberline at 3 p.m. before Wellington and Highlands meet at 4:30 p.m.

The senior AA girls’ North Island championships will be held up the highway at Kwalikum Secondary School. Wellington’s girls finished first in league play and will be favoured to capture the title and advance to Islands.

The Nanaimo District Islanders will be first to take the court at the tourney, facing the host Kondors at 3 p.m. today. Wellington and Woodlands both earned first-round byes at North Islands on the strength of their regular-season records and won’t tip off until tomorrow (Feb. 17). The Wildcats girls will play either ND or Kwalikum at 3:45 p.m. and Woodlands will take on either Ballenas or Isfeld at 5:30 p.m.

A North Island champion will also be crowned this week in senior AAA girls’ hoops at Port Alberni.The Dover Bay Dolphins and the host Alberni Armada are considered the favourites, and the NDSS Islanders are also participating.

Dover’s first game is Friday (Feb. 17) at 2 p.m. against Cowichan.

COURT SHORTS … Wellington Secondary School’s gym is also hosting junior boys’ North Island championships this weekend.