On February 22, the SAMS Sr Girls Basketball team left to compete in the North Central District ‘A’ Zones tournament, hosted by Prince George Cedars Christian School at the UNBC Gym. The top three teams of the tournament would move on to play in Provincials which is being hosted in Duncan BC March 8-10.
The SAMS team Zone includes Prince George, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Ft. Saint James, Ft. Saint John, Valemount, Tumbler Ridge, Vanderhoof, Hudsons Hope, Chetwynd, Fort Nelson and more.
“Single A sport is defined as a high school with 500 students or less and typically only grades 10-12,” explained Coach Lori George. “We go out to a tournament ahead of zones, if we can afford it, for seeding purposes. This lets the seeding committee gather data to determine where all teams will be ranked in zones. It takes a lot of time and effort for our student athletes to make it out to these tournaments.”
George explained that while most of the teams in Zone get to play at least once or twice a month SAMS has to travel 10 plus hours to meet another team.
“Each trip costs no less than $5000,” said George. “ There’s fuel costs, five to six rooms for no less than five nights, food for eight to twelve players, a bus driver and a coach, and a chaperone or two.”
The school district has limited funds but helps as much as they possibly can,” George continued. “Local businesses get stretched pretty thin with there being so many fundraisers within our very active community, but they also contribute as much as they can. The girls fundraise at least 70 percent of the budget every year.”
Understanding the challenges the team faces makes their accomplishments that much more remarkable.
The Grizzlies seeded fourth, played their first game on Thursday against Fraser Lake seeded fifth. This was a tough and very close game, SAMS was up 20- 29 at the half and won the game with a score of 60-57.
The played a second game against the Cedars Christian School, who were seeded first . This was a fast paced game and SAMS was down 11-52 at the half and lost the game with the final score of 34-98.
They met Fort Nelson on the third game, seeded eighth . SAMS was up 26-33 at the half and closed with the win 53-63.
SAMS played the fourth game against Burns Lake, seeded sixth. SAMS was up 28-22 at the half and closed with the win 72-45. This was the game that determined who would move on the play against Vanderhoof for third and fourth; third moves on to play in provincials in March.
A very tired SAMS team played their fifth game against Vanderhoof Northside Christian School, seeded third. This was Northside’s third game in the three days of this tournament. Grizzlies were very tired and had many aching muscles, but were ready to put in their 100 percent knowing that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. SAMS was down 35-10 at the half and lost the game 59-27.
The team took home an Honorable Mention All Star with Trinity Mack wowing coaches with her level of play having only being in grade eight.
The team also took home two second All Star awards with their Senior players Taija Edgar and Lauren Harrison.
“These ladies have been playing for our school since grade eight and we will miss them next year as they are graduating this year,” said George. “I want to thank them for all of their years of hard work and dedication to the team, and also for passing on the torch and showing our younger players what leadership looks like.”
Last but definitely not least, SAMS Grizzlies took home the Most Sportsmanlike Team Award! This is an award that really means a lot, to stand out as the athletes with sportsmanship in a tournament of 11 teams and high level of competition. The coach received many compliments on the athletic ability, the “never give up” attitude and the great team spirit.
“The team would like to thank the community for all of the support,” said George. “Fundraising efforts would not be successful without the community standing behind the team. We would also like to extend a thank you for the cash donations, they are very much appreciated!”
Players are Lauren Harrison, grade 12, Taija Edgar, grade 12, Felicity Walkus-Snow, grade 11, Breagha Koroluk, grade 10, Charity Edgar, grade 10, Cela Jones, grade 9, Anaxum Sandoval, grade 9, Orenda George, grade 9 and Trinity Mack, grade 8.