This weekend the North Nova Gryphons will be hosting the third annual Anse MacDonald Invitational basketball tournament, honouring MacDonald and his dedication to the sport in Pictou County.
This is the second tournament the Gryphons will host at home this season.
In their Tip Off Tournament in November the team lost all three games as well as losing one of their two Grade 12 players, Rene Amit to a wrist injury. This weekend Amit will make his return to the lineup for the first time since the opening tournament. He’s excited be back on the court with the team and hopes their young team can be successful.
“We’re going to strive to win every game, but if we don’t and we know we’ve played our best then we’ll be happy with that,” said Amit. “It’s a new year and games mean more as we near the end of the season. I believe this tournament will decide how we’re going to play the rest of the season so I hope we play better together.”
Now in his third year, Amit said this season the Grade 10s are getting more playing time than when he started, but they have been competing well thus far.
“We’re a young team and unlike when we were in Grade 10 the first-year guys are getting a lot of playing time,” he said. “Although we’re younger we’re a taller team than when I started and are just as strong. I think we just need to want it more.”
Garrett Rivers, the only other Grade 12 on the team, said he would like to have the team win the event, which they lost last year to Lockview in the final. He said although he doesn’t know MacDonald well, winning a tournament in honour of someone who has done so much for basketball here would be a great gesture.
“We want to represent him well and win obviously,” said Rivers. “Anse has given a lot back to this community so it’s nice to have this tournament in his name to recognize that.”
In the weeks leading up to the holidays and prior to the tournament, Rivers said the team has been working on their defensive play. He said they have been giving up too many second-chance opportunities to opponents.
“We’ve been struggling at boxing people out in recent games and getting rebounds, which has led to the too many second chances for opponents,” he said. “We haven’t been getting the offensive rebounds the way we want to either so we’ve been working on those and not hesitating to shoot when we have quality opportunities.”
The tournament kicks off Friday at 2 p.m. with North Nova taking on J.L. Ilsley.
Highland Ford A&W
North Nova Lockview
J.L. Ilsley Sackville
Colonel Gray Prince Andrew
Friday, Jan. 4
2:00 p.m. J.L. Ilsley vs. North Nova
4:00 p.m. Sackville vs. Lockview
6:00 p.m. North Nova vs. Colonel Gray
8:00 p.m. Lockview vs. Prince Andrew
Saturday, Jan. 5
9:00 a.m. Colonel Gray vs. J.L. Ilsley
11:00 a.m. Sackville vs. Prince Andrew
1:00 p.m. 3rd place Highland Ford vs. 3rd place A&W
3:00 p.m. 2nd place Highland Ford vs. 2nd place A&W
5:00 p.m. 1st place Highland Ford vs. 1st place A&W