CAIS U13 Boys Basketball Tournament
By Ali Doerksen and Sonya Chwyl
The wind was blowing cold when the GNS U13 Boys Basketball team rolled into Okotoks, Alberta last week for their greatest challenge yet: their first CAIS tournament as a team.
While the boys have been practising hard, they hadn't actually played together competitively before. "It was really cold, but we were really excited," says Paton, Grade 7.
The tournament got off to a slow start with a game against Kingsway College. GNS was down 12-0 in the first quarter, but pulled together in the final 2 minutes to narrow the point differential. Unfortunately they ran out of time and were unable to overcome their deficit.
Game 2 against HSC was where the boys really started to come together as a team--with strong playing all around, the game was very balanced, and though the boys had a short lapse they were unable to overcome, they ended with a hard fought loss of 42-34.
"It felt really good working as a team," says Charles, Grade 7.
After a tough day, the boys entered the last game against Crescent School with nothing to lose. Crescent is a very strong team, and the winners of the tournament last year. This was the game the boys became a team, demonstrating fantastic sportsmanship and playing. They cheered, they encouraged, and they got pumped up by each other's great plays! It was a back-and-forth battle with our boys playing some amazing defence, and in the end they came up only 4 points short.
Day 3 was another slow start against Selwyn House, another very strong team that demonstrated great playing and sportsmanship. By the end of Game 2 against Collingwood the boys were feeling tired and frustrated from a very physical game. The highlight of this game was definitely our grade 5 ambassador class, who came to cheer us on with a personalized GNS Gryphon cheer and signs that they created.
With renewed energy, our boys showed up ready to play for Game 3 against Strathcona-Tweedsmuir. They wanted to prove themselves, and from the moment of the tip off they played with passion and intensity.
It all started with their incredible defence, and they finally dialled in on both ends of the court. By half time we had racked up a substantial lead, and for the remainder of the game the boys kept in mind the sportsmanship that they had received from the strong teams that we had faced earlier in the day.
The last day of the tournament offered two more challenging games, and after a tough loss in the first game the team pulled together for amazing come back with a win in their final game. The team should be very proud of their playing, teamwork, and sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
"Once you realize you're losing, you can feel like it's not that fun," says Paton. "But when you're playing it is fun, and that's what matters."
Overall, the tournament was a fantastic learning experience that brought the boys together as teammates and friends. Great work, Gryphons!