The YHS Athletics department has some very exciting news. For the 2011/12 year, our Senior Tigers Basketball team will be “going AAA” after winning two straight AA BC Championships and eight titles since 1999.
York House has been the most dominant AA basketball program. The Tigers play many AAA teams each year and often rank among the top AAA teams. Many in the basketball community have often asked why the Tigers are not AAA. While it has been debated in the past, we are a small AA school and for many reasons, we are a better fit to play AA in the future. Playing AAA this year will likely be a one year challenge embraced by the most talented team York House has had.
To get the inside scoop, we sat down with Tigers stars, Grade 11’s Cherub and Alisha.
After a very successful season, Tigers Coach Mr. Brown approached the girls with the idea of going AAA. However, the final decision was left up to the girls.
“It had to be a team decision, so the whole team met a couple of times to talk about it,” says Alisha. “We were told that no matter what decision we made, the coaches would support it.”
The overwhelming consensus was to go AAA. “Winning the Provincials made us confident,” Alisha says, noting that the experience the team gained this year has made them feel ready for the challenge.
“It will virtually be the same team as last season. We’ve already had time to grow together as a team, and know what our roles are,” says Cherub, pointing out the advantage of having no Gr. 12’s on the team (no one graduated this year).
The girls both admit that there is no guarantee they will win the big prize at the end of the season. It’s solely about the challenge – the experience.
“We’ve already won two Provincial Championships. We have nothing to lose – no pressure to hold our top ranking like in AA,” says Cherub. “I’m excited. It’s the highest level you can play at. We both know a lot of the players in AAA, some of them are our old teammates on provincial teams.”
“It’s the best teams in the Province,” Alisha chimes in. “When we’ve talked about AAA before, I always thought it would be an awesome opportunity. To accomplish that would be amazing.”
Alisha and Cherub have been playing for YHS since Grade 8, but started off young, developing a passion for the game at six or seven years old. It’s no surprise that basketball runs in both of their families. Alisha’s dad (assistant coach of our junior team), Norman Roberts, was MVP of the Rhodesian team (Zimbabwe), and both her older sisters played at the university level. Both of Cherub’s parents were high school basketball stars, and her younger brothers play as well.
“This is the most talented Tigers team. Despite the many great teams and great players over the years, YHS have not had this level of talent and depth at each position. Next season is the year to go after a AAA title,” says Senior Athletics Director David Prissinotti, nothing that the coaching staff is in full support of the decision and will work hard to ensure the Sr. Tigers benefit from the best resources they can provide the team.
So what does this mean for the Tigers? York House will still be playing in the same league and playing in many of the same tournaments during the year but instead of playing in a couple of AA tournaments, the Tigers will be in the top AAA tournaments all year and will attend the AAA Lower Mainland Championships to qualify for the AAA BC Championships.
Students, parents, staff, alumnae and friends of YHS will be able to see the Senior Tigers play at the highest level in high school sports, and perhaps even cheer them on locally at the Provincials in North Vancouver next year, rather than having to travel up to Kamloops.