It’s the biggest high school basketball tournament of the season, aside from playoffs, and the Wellington Wildcats are in it to win it.
Wellington Secondary School’s annual basketball tournament has been a big deal at the school for decades, and this year’s edition tips off today (Jan. 10) with the Wildcats senior AA boys and senior AA girls both in action.
Last year both the Wellington teams won their draws at Superball. The boys’ final against D.W. Poppy ended up being the best high school basketball game of the year, an 87-85 triple-overtime thriller.
“It’s their favourite tournament of the year,” said Glenn Johnson, coach of the Wildcats boys.
A highlight of this year’s brackets will be the games Friday (Jan. 11) morning. The Wildcats girls play the Nanaimo District Islanders at 8:15 a.m. and the ’Cats boys face the Dover Bay Dolphins at 9:50 a.m. Wellington teachers will help make sure the bleachers are filled.
"They play in front of the school, so that's a big moment, especially for the seniors, they enjoy doing that," Johnson said.
So despite the early morning start that day, the ’Cats should come out looking caffeinated.
“It’s better for them to get up early and play because they get all their excitement out,” said Nicole McRae, coach of the Wellington senior girls. “Imagine them trying to sit in a class before playing in front of the school – it just wouldn’t happen.”
Today’s games might be good ones, as well, as the Wildcats boys face the Gulf Island Scorpions at 4:30 p.m. followed by a matchup between the schools’ girls’ teams at 6:15 p.m.
“We wanted to have back-to-backs as much as we can,” McRae said. “It’s nice when the boys and the girls have the same teams here because then they can support their other side.”
Aside from Wellington, NDSS and Dover, the other local entrant is the Cedar Spartans senior AA boys.
GAME ON … The Superball finals are Saturday with the girls’ final at 2:45 p.m. followed by the boys’ final at 4:30 p.m.