By Jack B.
The season started out rough. A couple key returning players had suffered injuries, around the same time as tryouts, taking them off the court and putting them on the bench for a couple months. Even after the players were healed, most of the team was in grade 9 and on exam break. It was consistent to only have 5 or 6 people at practices. Due to this, the lack of preparation showed, the Westmount Jr. Boys team lost their preseason game 35-27, even though most players were expecting to win.This defeat served as a wake-up call for our players. We had finally realized that we could not win games on talent alone. That defeat at the hands of 3rd ranked ALCA, who went on to be a finalist, instilled in us a new desire to win. We committed ourselves to put forth the time and effort, and it certainly showed. “I felt that after we lost, it made most of us realize that we couldn’t just coast to the finals on talent alone,” says Vaskar Nath, co-captain, “we would need to practice as a team and play as a team.”
The Westmount Charter Jr. Boys Basketball team consisted of 13 players; 8 grade 9s, 1 grade 8, and 4 grade 7s. Almost the whole team had experience playing organized basketball. Our team had loads of talent and we placed high expectations on ourselves at the start of the year, setting a goal to win the championship. Some of us even set the expectation to go undefeated. The preseason loss fueled our desire to go undefeated and win the championship.
After gaining a new desire to put forth the time and effort needed to win games, we won our season openers by 50 points each. We then participated in the first ever CAAA Basketball Tournament, winning all our group games then going strong to the tournament finals, which we won by 2 points. Following the tournament we played strong basketball, winning all our games throughout February. These games included a 15 point win against ALCA (the team we lost to in the preseason), an incredible 80 point blowout against CAA, and a couple close games against ERS and CSS, winning by 6 and 4 respectively. We ended the season a perfect 7-0, placing us at the top of our league.
Since we placed 1st in our league our first round matchup was against last place CAA, who didn’t win a game all year long. We played one of our best games all year, winning 95-1. Our semi-final game was much harder since we played ERS, who we had beaten by 2 and by 6. We knew it would be a tough game. We matched them in the first half, we were tied at halftime. After a poor third quarter, we were down by 5 heading into the 4th. It was back and forth the whole quarter, something we didn’t want. When we were down by 29-23 with 46 seconds, it seemed like our undefeated season was about to end. “Not gonna lie, I was hoping for the best and trying to stay positive, but when we were down by 6 with 46 seconds left, almost everyone thought we would lose,” said Aidan McNeil. “Then we had my boy Jack Barbeau go off! He scored 5 of our 7 points in 45 seconds, including the game winning jump shot with less than two seconds left.” Following this epic 30-29 comeback win, we turned our attention to a rematch with ALCA in the league finals.
Jackson recalled on the final, “It was an interesting experience playing in finals. In all four years I’ve been on the team, this was the first time we made it to the league finals.” The game started out close, tied at 11 at halftime. “We wanted badly wanted to win this game,” said Colton Cabot, “after that first half we realized how good we needed to play if we wanted to win.” We played intense throughout the rest of the game, winning by 15 points. Zain Sadek said that, “it was an amazing feeling winning that game and realizing that we were the league champions. It was even more special that we had gone undefeated.”
The Westmount Charter Jr. Boys had an amazing basketball season, one filled with success but also its fair share of struggle. It was an incredible thing to watch us band together and finish the season the way we wanted to, undefeated.