An emotional night for four Prince George high school basketball teams ended in celebration for community togetherness through sport.
On Tuesday (Feb. 11), the 2020 Prince George City Senior Girls and Boys Basketball Championships took place at UNBC’s Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre, where one program was crowned twice as queens and kings of the high school hardwood.
The Duchess Park Senior Girls’ and Boys’ teams will each hang another red banner in their gymnasium after pulling out large-margin wins against Prince George Secondary and D.P. Todd respectively.
While the scoresheet may have shown which team was better, the events that followed each contest displayed the closeness of the local basketball community.
“We live in such an amazing community,” said Condors’ Senior Boys Head Coach Jordan Yu in a post-game interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters, who further explains local athletes, despite wearing different school colours, are great friends off-court.
“With Prince George, being the size it is, it's not too big, but it's not too small, and all these kids, if you’re really true to your sport and you want to get better, you’re working with all the different schools throughout the Spring and Summer. It’s a wonderful basketball community to be a part of and, you know, it's tough because you got to cheer for one team, but I think Prince George basketball is getting better all around because of it.”
The same can be said on the girls side with Duchess Park post Jasmin Schlick.
She’s the youngest of four sisters, who all won a city championship prior to winning her third senior title this year, adding she got emotional when she and her fellow Grade 12s walked off the court.
“I got a little teared up there for a second,” said Schlick.
“I saw all those coaches I’ve had for so many years, one of them I’ve had since Grade Three actually, and just lots of emotions. I’ve been playing for these girls for so long, and it’s going to be really strange not to see them all the time. [...] I go to school and, even though it’s tough, I have practice afterwards and I can hang out with all my friends [because] they really are my family, so it’s a really positive and fun environment for sure.”
The lady-Condors took over on offense immediately after opening tip-off against the Prince George Polars and stayed in that high gear through until the final buzzer.
This included a 25-0 lead before the end of the first frame when Polars’ Nina Gajic scored two free throws to finally get on the board.
Duchess’ five graduating seniors came off the court with 3:10 left in regulation to a eruptious applause from fans, students, friends and parents.
Head Coach Louise Holmes explains this is the seventh city title in a row for her Condor core and the school’s 18th since the program began 30 years ago.
“It’s a great feeling, especially for our Grade 12s to return,” she said. “They won it last year and to win for the young ones who’ve never been in this position before to play at UNBC, playing with a crowd that’s yelling, it’s part of a great experience for all of them.”
On the boys side, AAA number-one provincially-ranked Duchess Park pulled away from the D.P. Todd Trojans in the second quarter and never surrendered the lead en route to their fifth consecutive Prince George trophy.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle and we just wanted to keep it clean as best as we could,” said Coach Yu, a Condor alumnus now with his third straight championship, on the pace and physicality of play.
“We’re just happy we came out on top; they’re such a great program and such a great team. We were just lucky to have a great defensive effort tonight.”
Twenty City All-Stars were presented with plaques after each game, which, as a tribute, included collector cards of the late Kobe Bryant.
Provincial Championships in Langley start Feb. 26 for the girls and Mar. 4 for the guys.
.@SD57PG basketball pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant by placing a collector’s card on each of the City All-Star plaques 🏀 10 players were awarded for both girls & boys for their performances on the court during playoffs | #CityOfPG @Lakers @NBA @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/WW28pdViNW— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) February 12, 2020