The annual Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association (CSHSAA) basketball selects games were held Tuesday, March 10th at Crescent Heights High School.
The game was a celebration of graduating talent from each participating high school in Calgary, comprised of the top male and female Grade 12 players from each school.
The city championship games for all three CSHSAA divisions set the stage for two final games to cap off the 2019/20 basketball season.
“The selects game for a graduating player gives a little bit of recognition, but even bigger is the culmination of playing three years of high school sports,” said CSHSAA executive director Pat Harrigan.
“Three years with hopefully one school, being a member of the school community, making the school a better place is a big deal for some kids.”
Both the boys and girls games drew big crowds, as friends, fans, teammates and family members filed-in to watch some of the players’ final high school games.
The two teams are decided randomly, as the participating players who get selected by their respective coaches get split into a home and away squad.
The home team wears their school’s light-coloured, jerseys while the away team wears their dark uniforms.
Both games saw the away team emerge victorious as the boys game finished with a score of 112-99 and the girls game ended 89-49.
Both games featured many highlights as the boys threw down some high-flying dunks and the girls were putting up threes from all over the court.
In the boys’ game, Antonio Eusebio of Bishop McNally and Simon Mihai from Bishop Carroll led their team in scoring on the way to the win, while Paul Asebiode representing Bishop O’Byrne led the home team in points.
Bishop Grandin High School’s Chang Jal goes up for a dunk during the annual basketball selects game held at Crescent Heights High School in Calgary. Photo by Zachary Worden
On the girls’ side, Abbey Wilkinson from William Aberhart and Madison Stata Luzentales put up the most points for the away team in the win, and on the other side, Luiza Mendes led the home team in the game.
The game is unique because players get the opportunity to suit-up with and against their usual counterparts from other schools.
“It’s really awesome to be able to play with people that you know that you’ve always played against in years past.,” Wilkinson said. “Also getting the chance to play with and get to know people that you haven’t played from different divisions.”
With so many graduates playing their last-ever basketball games, the opportunity to be the one player chosen from their respective school gives players a special memory that not every athlete will get.
Wilkinson’s coach at William Aberhart, Julie Farquhar, who also served as the away team’s coach said that the game “is a great opportunity for [the players] to play together and get selected as their team’s all-star.”
Four players in the girls’ game have committed to play sports at the U SPORTS level in Canada.
The crowd reacts to a dunk during the annual high school selects basketball game at Crescent Heights High School in Calgary. Photo by Zachary Worden
Sarah Kuklisin of St. Francis committed to the University of Northern British Columbia in November, Anna Parsons of St. Mary’s committed to Dalhousie University in Halifax in February and Wilkinson announced she would be staying a bit closer to home, committing to the Mount Royal University Cougars in December.
Grace Mwasalla of Notre Dame also has committed to playing at the next level with MacEwan University in Edmonton, except she is going for soccer instead of basketball.
Usually, the top four teams in division 1 would be heading to the provincial championships, which were being held in Lethbridge this year. But unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the championships have been cancelled for 2020.
The top four teams for the boys from Calgary would have been William Aberhart, Bishop O’Byrne, Father Lacombe and city champions Bishop McNally. While the girls’ teams would have been St. Mary’s, Father Lacombe, Centennial and the girls’ champions Western Canada.
Despite there usually being eight teams going to represent Calgary in the provincial tournament, the CSHSAA still crowns division 2 and 3 champions.
In division 2, Ernest Manning took home the boys’ trophy and Joanne Cardinal Schubert won the girls’ bracket. For division 3 schools, the St. Gabriel boys and Lord Beaverbrook girls won their respective titles.
- By Zachary Worden