It’s Thomas Stewart’s last of three years spent with the Corner Brook Regional High Titans senior boys basketball team.
“I don’t really think about it right now,” he said. “I’m sure when it’s all done, it’ll be sad. It will be weird not to play basketball anymore.
“Right now, I’m just trying to play it out.”
The 17-year-old Grade 12 student is one of four third-year players on an otherwise inexperienced club that will be competing at the annual Hall of Fame Cup — also known as the Elite Eight.
Throughout the season, a Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association committee gathers scores of invitational tournaments, exhibition games and league play, resulting in two sets of rankings being released. The first came in December, the second arrived this month.
The Titans are ranked seventh of the eight boys teams, same as they were in the first list. The female bracket consists entirely of east coast schools, with Corner Brook dropping out of the seventh spot they occupied on the first go around.
Stewart, the son of Tom Stewart and Shelly Barker, began playing the game in Grade 4 and stuck with it ever since. His dad is well-known in local circles as a top-notch basketball coach, but it was the camaraderie with his friends that kept Stewart engrossed in the sport.
“Just being around all my best friends,” he said. “That’s what I like the most.”
His tentative university plan is to attend Grenfell Campus, and he’s hoping he can find a regular game of basketball there, but that also means playing varsity ball in Atlantic University Sport is out, at least for now.
So, his focus lies on the now, and the challenge directly in front of he and his teammates.
Can they pull off an upset and capture the Hall of Fame Cup from the clutches of heavyweights like Holy Heart of Mary or Gonzaga?
Stewart believes so.
“We’ve got a really fast-paced team,” said the point guard. “I feel like we can compete with anyone. I feel like we can beat anyone.”
He’s never been able to hoist the Hall of Fame Cup in two previous appearances — the Titans went 1-2 in the round robin last year — but he feels the experience of being there can help him lead this time.
And maybe, just maybe, the third time’s the charm?
“It’d make it a memorable one, for sure,” he said.
The Titans open their tournament today against No. 2 ranked Gonzaga at 6:15 p.m.