PORT HAWKESBURY: The athleticism on the court was intense, and so was the effort behind the scenes to make sure the second annual James Poirier Memorial High School Tournament took place last weekend
“We had to cram it all into one day, and that was tough,” said SAERC coach Jason Seymour.
Making sure the tournament ran was made difficult by a bad winter storm that swept through the area and extensive power outages that occurred as a result. The tourney was originally meant to be played last Friday and Saturday, but with schools pulling out, the event became a one-day affair
The SAERC gym, where the games were played, was unaffected by the power outages, but the same couldn’t be said of several communities from which the teams came.
“The support was huge, and so was the parental support,” the coach said, noting that the schedule had to be rewritten a number of times before it was finalized. “The weather doesn’t always cooperate, and when you’re dealing with school closures, it’s tough.”
Of local teams, SAERC was joined by the Dalbrae Dragons and Guysborough. Pugwash and North Colchester were also on the court.
SAERC had a good run, making it to the championship game along with Pugwash – the team that’s a front runner to win this season’s Division III provincials.
“I didn’t expect to beat Pugwash, but we had a great showing,” said Seymour, noting that Pugwash is pretty stacked with quality players – two of whom have already committed to playing AUS basketball next season.
SAERC, on the other hand, isn’t lacking depth either, as the guys have nine grade 12s on the team and leaders like Matthew Reynolds and Cameron MacDougall.
“It was a close game until the fourth quarter,” Seymour said. “We kind of got sloppy and they pulled ahead, but I was happy with the guys. It was a great effort from them. All in all, it was a great effort and a great weekend.”
The Saints dropped North Colchester and Guysborough before advancing to the gold medal game.
In addition to the basketball action, a video tribute with music was performed in memory of the young man for whom the tournament is named. James Poirier lost his life as the result of a single-vehicle automotive crash on October 23, 2015. The 19-year-old was in his first year of study at the Nova Scotia Community College, and coming of a high school run that saw him emerge as a leader with the SAERC Saints basketball team.
His family was in attendance, and Jeremy White performed some life music during the tribute.