Brentwood College School’s junior girls basketball team is making history this week.
“It’s the first time our junior girls team has ever gone to provincials,” head coach Jillian Napier explained. “The girls are quite excited about that.”
The players have known for some time that they would be attending, after winning a provincial qualifying tournament at Dover Bay by beating Pacific Christian, Claremont and Alberni District well ahead of the Island championship.
Of the 24 teams at provincials, 20 qualify through their zone championships, like the Islands, and the other four get in through provincial qualifying tournaments, or PQTs. Two of the four Island teams at provincials — Brentwood and St. Michaels — qualified through PQTs, while the other two — Belmont and Claremont — qualified through the Island championships.
Brentwood hosted the Island championships in mid-February, preparing for provincials by going 1-2 in a series of challenging games against Belmont, Pacific Christian and Nanaimo District.
Seeded 18th at provincials, Brentwood will open on Wednesday against No. 15 College Heights, with the winner facing No. 2 Kelowna.
“It will be a challenging game, as most games are at provincials,” Napier said. “We expect the girls to play their best basketball and enjoy the experience as much as possible.”
This year’s team is relatively young, with three of the starting five in Grade 9, although most of them have played lots of basketball both at Brentwood and outside the school.
Because the junior provincials don’t separate schools based on their size, Brentwood will be up against teams that draw from much larger populations, and Napier is keeping her team conscious of that.
“It’s all about the experience at the junior level,” she said. “You’re playing against AAAA and AA schools, so it’s not as easy as it is at the senior level.”