West Hants Middle School Boys Coach Tyler VanKippersluis said "it was probably one of, if not the best, Jr. Boys team to ever come from the West Hants Middle School" as they finished their season with an overall 21-5 record. This record included a perfect record of 18-0 in Western Zone competition.
The Jr. Boys went on to capture the Western Zone Middle School Basketball Championships in Lunenburg last week. Western Zone is the highest championship honour awarded in middle school basketball competition.
“We won our opening game before a pretty intense home audience by defeating Lunenburg Centre Consolidated 63-58,” said VanKippersluis.
Brett Pemberton played a dynamic game in the win scoring 29 points while Keenan MacCall added 18 and Mitch Tempro added 12 points.
In the championship game, with a large contingent of parents making their way down to Lunenburg from Shelburne, West Hants nudged out Shelburne with a score of 64-55. MacCall led the way this time, scoring 23 points while Tempro added 20 and Pemberton 12.
West Hants advanced to the Western Zone Championship Tournament with a pair of lopsided wins over King’s-Edgehill and Central Kings before they defeated Northeast Kings in the District Championship Game.
Two of the five losses suffered this year by West Hants were when they competed in a tournament in Summerside, P.E.I., and placed fourth in the eight-team tournament with a 2-2 record.
Girls down Lockport in championship match
At the Western Zone Girls Championship Tournament held in Middleton, West Hants squeaked by Bridgewater Jr. High 47-43 in a hard fought game before defeating Lockport in the championship game 62-46.
Following the championship game, Coach Melanie Miller said, "we did not come out very strong, being down by one after the first quarter, but gained momentum in the second half and pulled away."
The Jr. Girls team has some players that local basketball fans will want to keep their eye on in the coming years. These include Jessica Miller, McKayla States, Kali McLellan, Kimber Miller and Brianna Veinot.
West Hants advanced to the Western Zone Championship with a close 45-41 win over Coldbrook but it was still a dominant season by the Jr. Girls who lost only three times, an earlier game to Coldbrook, with their only two other losses coming at the hands of New Glasgow and Whitney Pier.
“This year we've prided ourselves on our tough defense, and hustle at both ends of the court. We had a strong rebounding team, and were tough to defend inside. Typically the scoring was well spread out throughout the team,” said Miller.
This was the last basketball season with West Hants for Kimber Miller, Briana Veinot, Natasha Williamson, and Brittany MacKinnon as they are in Grade 9.
However, Miller said a “strong core group of girls remain, who will carry us into next season.”