Charlotte team to play in prestigious tournament

  • Nov. 8, 2013 11:00 a.m.

by Laura Bishop-Despite being the smallest school in BC to have a senior boys basketball team, the Queen Charlotte high school will be taking on the province’s highest-ranking teams at the ‘AAAA’ championships. The championships will be held in Langley in March, after two tournaments in Vancouver that the team will also play in. The team consists of 10 students in grades 10 to 12 from Skidegate, Queen Charlotte and Miller Creek. They train daily and are coached by Desi Collinson, assisted by Dave Wahl and Kris Olsen. According to Mr. Wahl, they would typically play in ‘A’ division, but because of highly skilled players on the team, they appealed to the provincial basketball association to be permitted to play in the much higher ‘AAAA’ division. QCSS players Nate Vogstad, Jesse Barnes and Duncan Rumak tried out for provincial teams last summer. Mr. Wahl said that Nate Vogstad played well at the provincial level and is arguably the best grade 12 basketball player in BC. He also noted that grade 11 student Jesse Barnes, who played for the provincial under-16 team, is in the running to take that title next year. “The point of the tournament is to represent the talent of the province, not just Vancouver. Twenty percent of our team are some of the best in the province,” said Mr. Wahl. QCSS is the only senior boys basketball team on Haida Gwaii, which means to play anyone it must travel. They’re the only ‘AAAA’ team in the Northwest, which means if they want to play against similarly ranked teams, they must travel long distances. The team is now in the process of raising $7,000 on island so they can play in two Vancouver tournaments: the North Shore Invitational on December 13 and 14 and the Winston Churchill Tournament in January. “Both of these tournaments will allow us to play against some of the top 10 ‘AAAA’ teams in BC, and that will be good experience for provincials,” said Mr. Wahl. He also said there will be university coaches and scouts at the tournaments and provincial championships, providing Haida Gwaii players exposure to future prospects and a high calibre of competition. “Next year I believe we’ll have at least one (QCSS) player playing Canadian university basketball. That’s a really exciting thing to think about. The reason they are where they are is because these boys have worked really hard. Desi has coached them every single night. They’re all really committed. And, it’s not just basketball. Desi is teaching them about being men, about Haida culture. This is really exciting for him, too,” Mr. Wahl said. The players will begin their fundraising blitz next weekend at the Nathan Young Tournament in Skidegate with concession sales. They also plan a basketball tournament for island children, where the QCSS players will act as coaches.