BARRHEAD – The Barrhead Composite High School (BCHS) senior girls and boys’ basketball teams recently wrapped up the 2022-2023 season by earning silver and bronze respectively at the North Central 3A Zone Championships in Whitecourt and Morinville on March 10-11.
The Barrhead senior girls faced off with Westlock in the championship final, and despite a strong effort, ultimately lost 38-41.
Notably, this was the first time in 30 years that the girl Gryphons have played for the zone title, according to coach Jennifer Tuininga.
“This is a great accomplishment,” she said. “Although the silver medal was bittersweet, it was exciting to be playing in the final and to have such a competitive game against our local rivals. A great end to the basketball season!”
To reach the finals, the Barrhead girls defeated Whitecourt on the afternoon of March 10 by a score of 48-28, and then felled Morinville 35-33 in a nail-biter match in the evening.
“This was a big upset as Morinville was ranked first in our zone and seventh provincially,” said Tuininga.
Prior to zones, Tuininga said the senior girls had played in six tournaments. They had a couple of fourth-place finishes, with their best result being a second-place finish at the Memorial Composite Tournament in Stony Plain.
That left them seeded four going into zones, which makes the fact that they reached the finals all the more impressive.
“The girls continued to improve their skills and cardio as the season progressed, and were very strong defensively,” said Tuininga, adding that they had five Grade 12s and seven Grade 11s on the team.
Senior boys bronze
Going into the season, Gryphons head coach Thijs de Wildt said their goal, as it always is, was to win zones "and go to the provincials."
But unfortunately, a loss to Edson in their second game dashed their plan.
The Gryphons opened up the tournament playing Whitecourt's Hilltop Chargers, a team Barrhead is very familiar with having played them twice over the course of the season, losing by one point each time, including once in overtime.
"We knew, going into the game, it was going to be a nail-biter," he said.
And the game did not disappoint, with the Gryphons coming out on top in a closely contested 58-54 victory.
Sadly, Barrhead could not maintain its momentum. In their next game against the top-ranked Parkland Composite High School Pacers from Edson.
"We just did not have enough gas left in the tank in the second half and in the end, we lost by 13 points," he said.
On the second day, in their final matchup, the Gryphons defeated Edwin Parr Composite School from Athabasca 64-57. Going into zones, Athabasca was ranked second.
"I'm beyond proud of every individual on this team. Going into zones we were ranked fifth but ended up taking the bronze. It just proves that rankings are just a number and you have to put in the work to get results," he said, adding the Senior Gryphons have a bright future ahead of them.
"We are a young team and I believe we will be there with the top teams going into zones next year."