Booth Memorial Braves girls’ basketball coach Geoff Moore isn’t surprised his team is favoured to win the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association’s (NLBA) high school tournament this weekend, but he can’t help but worry a little until it’s all over.
Moore concedes his team is considered the favourite but he notes, “some teams like St. Kevin’s and Bishops are much deeper than last year.
“Both ... can give us a good run, for sure. We’re not going to walk over anybody.
“We’ve got a tough draw. We really didn’t get rewarded much for being the No. 1 seed,” Moore added with a chuckle.
The NLBA boys’ and girls’ high school tournaments are slated to open Friday at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre in St. John’s.
Despite having a powerhouse team, Moore said he’s always concerned and is an admitted pessimist.
“My glass is always half empty. I’m never content and I’m never comfortable until it’s all over,” he said.
The Braves won the provincial 4As, Hall of Fame Cup, Sweet 16 and the St. John's league championship last season in running up a 48-1 overall record.
This season, the Braves defeated the St. Kevin’s Mavericks 73-59 to win the Clarence Sutton tournament last weekend. They also finished 2-2 at the Halifax Grammar School invitational in Nova Scotia.
The four-division, 16-team NLBA girls’ high school tournament starts 3 p.m. Friday. The tournament continues Saturday with the Tier 2 final Sunday at 9 a.m., followed by the Tier 1 final at 11 a.m.
Best of the boys not entered
The boys’ event also features four divisions with 16 teams, but three of the higher ranked teams in the province — Gonzaga and Prince of Wales Cavaliers of St. John’s, and Corner Brook High Titans — will not be entered. The Vikings won their tournament last weekend, reached the final of the Holy Spirit tournament and lost in the semifinals at the PWC tournament.
The NLBA’s boys’ event also opens 3 p.m. Friday at the Sports Centre.
The tournament continues Saturday with the Tier 2 final going Sunday at 9 a.m., followed by the Tier 1 championship game at 11 a.m.
The Vikings defeated the Barons 90-81 to win the recent Gonzaga invitational tournament.
Gonzaga lost in the semifinals by three points to Corner Brook in the PWC/Booth tournament and will play for the title against PWC in the Holy Spirit tournament. The championship game was postponed when the power went out in the school before the game was supposed to start.
Gonzaga coach Ian Coultas said the season has been “pretty wide open” so far.
“Gonzaga, Bishops and PWC have been the most consistent teams in the city, but Holy Heart is in the mix and they will only get stronger as the season goes on,” he said.
With some of the top teams missing, Coultas figures it will be Holy Heart and Bishops in the final and he gives the edge to Bishops.
“Holy Spirit have played HHM tough so far the season, so there is always potential for an upset if they match up.”
Meanwhile, in talking about the Vikings, Coultas said, “We’re are a guard-heavy team that like to play an up tempo game. We have a lot of good shooters. Our guys have been very committed to their fitness to start the season and it’s definitely paying off for us.
“This is my first year with the program so we still have a lot of work left to do on learning a new system on offence and defence.”
However, Coultas said the players have been catching on quickly.
Colin Connors (Grade 12) and Matty McCrowe (Grade 11) are the team leaders so far the season. Both averaging over 20 points per game.
“I’ve been really happy with our depth this season and every game new guys seem to contribute in a variety of ways,” said Coultas.
Booth Memorial Braves, Mount Pearl Senior High Huskies, Mobile Monarchs, High Performance Blue
St. Kevin’s Mavericks, Gonzaga Vikings, Holy Trinity Tigers, High Performance Green
O’Donel Patriots, Laval Cavaliers, Corner Brook Titans, High Performance White
Bishops College Barons, Holy Heart Highlanders, Elwood Lakers, Fatima Academy Royals
Bishops, Gonzaga B, Holy Trinity, High Performance White
Holy Heart, Mount Pearl Senior, Clarenville Cougars, High Peformance Green
Holy Spirit Falcons, Exploits Valley Eagles, Fatima Academy, High Performance Blue
O’Donel, Mobile, Tricentia Academy Timberwolves, Stella Maris Mystic