Mount Sentinel captures Kootenay A Championship
With heavy hearts, the Mount Sentinel boys’ basketball team entered the Kootenay A Championships in Sparwood this past weekend with much more than sport on their minds.
With the unexpected passing of vice principal Blair D’Andrea just a few days prior, there was extra motivation for the senior squad that was favoured to win the Kootenay title.
They dug deep and didn’t disappoint, capturing the championship and berth into next month’s provincials with an 83-79 win over host Sparwood.
“The keys for them coming up big when it counted was their exceptional team play and hard work,” said Wildcats coach Misha Chernoff. “And certainly the extra motivation provided by the inspirational Blair D'Andrea.”
The players wore a special “D” on their warm-up jerseys throughout the tournament.
The road to the title started with an 83-63 win over Salmo. The Wildcats followed that up with a 104-50 thrashing of Nakusp Secondary and a 78-61 victory over Kimberley.
The final against Sparwood was an exciting game start to finish, with several lead changes throughout the game. With less then a minute to go Mount Sentinel took the lead and held on to the finish.
“It was a team victory, played with a lot of emotion,” said Chernoff. “I think the boys would want it mentioned that they dedicated their performance and hard work during the weekend to Blair D'Andrea.”
Sentinel lost to Sparwood in last year’s final in their home gym. It’s the first Kootenay title for the Wildcats since 2008.
“As their coach, I am so very proud of the way the boys came together and played their hearts out,” said Chernoff. “It’s truly an honour to be a part this team.”
The Wildcats will now represent the Kootenays in the BC High School A Provincials in Abbotsford starting next week. Though the team is riding high from the weekend title, Chernoff said they are significant underdogs when it comes to the much more challenging provincial competition.
“ Our chances at the provincials are not great,” he said. “But who knows what can happen come tournament time.”