North Bay is the site for high calibre girls’ basketball beginning Thursday as the community prepares for the OFSAA Single-A Girls Basketball Championship.
Including the Algonquin Barons, who are the NDA champs and went through the season with a perfect 15-0 record, 18 teams will compete for the province’s hardcourt crown.
Tim Lowe, the athletic director at Algonquin, says the event has been in the works for three years after Algonquin won the rights to host OFSAA in a bid process.
Lowe says with 325 players, the preliminary round games will be spread across four North Bay high schools; Algonquin, Odyssee, Scollard and West Ferris.
Ticket prices to the games, which run from Thursday to Saturday, are $5 a day or $10 for the entire tournament.
Lowe says the tickets can be bought at any of the participating schools.
In addition, the daily ticket gets you into any school for any games that day while the full package ticket lets the public into all the games at any school.
Lowe says come championship Saturday, the bronze medal game is played at 4:30pm and the gold medal game follows at 6:30pm.
Both games are at Algonquin.
The consolation final is also at Algonquin beginning at 2:30pm.
Lowe says heading into the tournament the Barons are ranked ninth.
“Realistically, any of the top nine teams have a chance of competing for the gold medal,” he said.
Lowe says O’Gorman High School from Timmins is the defending champion and he adds the O’Gorman girls are back.
They’re seeded first followed by Woodlands, from the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo region who are seeded second and then Macdonald-Cartier of Sudbury who won the bronze medal last year and are the fourth seed.
The Barons are coached by Lisa Hotte who says her girls got as far as the quarterfinals last year before losing to the Macdonald-Cartier girls who went onto to win the bronze medal.
“I think we’ll be very competitive in the first two games,” Hotte said.
“We’re seeded ninth and play Port Colborne in our first game.”
Port Colborne is ranked 10th and both teams face each other Thursday at 11:00am in the Algonquin gym.
“I feel we should be in the quarter-finals again this year, and if that happens then we’ll deal with what happens next,” Hotte said.
Hotte says all the teams are guaranteed three games in the preliminary round before moving onto the playoffs.
The Barons are coming off back-to-back undefeated NDA and NOSSA seasons.