Alberta Schools' Athletic Association still holding out for hoops continuation, Titans boss moving on

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There is a strong amount of writing on the wall determinism from a local high school coach.

Even though the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) is still in a holding pattern—with respects to the zone and provincial basketball championships—PWA Titans boys Head Coach Lucas Gorgichuk figures the game is well past the fourth-quarter buzzer.

“I really can’t see the ASAA being able to feasibly reschedule and realign the zone championships to meet their requirements, so provincials would be set with the appropriate seedings,” Gorgichuk said. “On top of that, to be able to re-book venues and re-organize dates that work out (for) all the different schools, I don’t see it as something that is feasible this school year.”

But an ASAA statement—released on its website March 26—seems to partly contradict, at least for the time being, the opinion that currently resides within Gorgichuk’s heart.


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“At this time, the ASAA has not set any replacement dates for these sports,” the statement said. “If the ASAA receives confirmation from the Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health that it is safe to hold such events, then a new calendar of events will be published. There is no way to speculate on time lines right now, but the longer we are without direction, the more likely it is that these events will be cancelled.”

The ASAA postponed all basketball-related activity on March 12 due to the novel coronavirus.

The season

Gorgichuk prefers to move forward and give closure to the 3A hoops year, a season of accomplishment.

The Titans posted a 22-6 record in all competitions, including, but not limited to, tournament wins at the Holy Redeemer event, the St. Joe’s Celtics tournament, while coming second at the Morinville Wolves Community High School tourney.

Locally, the Titans lost in the Mighty Peace Basketball League semifinal, a 70-64 set back to the Charles Spencer Mavericks on Feb. 26 at the PWA gym.

“It was one of the most successful seasons we’ve had in recent memory,” Gorgichuk said. “Right from the get-go, these (players) came in and worked hard and were focused. I am happy with how they competed throughout the year. There are always ebbs and flows in a season and the best teams are the teams that can bounce back through adversity. It speaks to the character of this group, the leaders of this group, and how they took adversity and losses, and made sure they learned off every loss rather than (dwelling) on the loss. I speak for the team when I say, ‘We really wanted that last weekend to leave it all on the court and really settle who deserved to go to provincials.’”


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No script for this

The decision to postpone the zone hoops extravaganza was crushing to the team, but Gorgichuk also understood the decision to shutter the championship was the right course of action for the health of all Albertans.

“You really can’t script the season to end like that but it seemed like we were in some sort of sick movie where I got the call and I had to tell the boys in the middle of practice, in the middle of game-planning (for) the biggest game of they year, ‘Sorry, boys. We have to pack it in,’” Gorgichuk said.

The two-day zone championship was scheduled to begin March 13 at the St. Joe’s gymnasium. The other teams involved in the hyper-local version of March Madness were the Beaverlodge Royals, St. Joe’s Celtics and the Grande Prairie Composite Tomahawks.

What could have been

Perhaps the blue and white weren’t the prohibitive favourite, but they felt OK heading into the biggest weekend of the hoops season.

Peace Wapiti Academy Titans top boss Lucas Gorgichuk felt a confluence of multiple circumstances were merging, perhaps, leading his club to a strong performance at the boys 3A zone basketball championship.

“I felt really good with the squad we had going into the competition,” Gorgichuk said. “It would have been a 10-day break between the last game (our team) played. We were well rested. It seemed all the stars were aligning for us at the right time.”

The championship was scheduled for March 13-14 at the St. Joe’s gymnasium. The other teams involved in the high school re-enactment of March Madness were the Beaverlodge Royals, the Grande Prairie Composite Tomahawks and the St. Joe’s Celtics.

The Titans planned to sprinkle in a few wrinkles to the game plan, lest the competition think they had a beat on them from regular-season play.

“We had a lot of things up the sleeve, (as during the regular season) we didn’t show all of our cards,” Gorgichuk said. “(That’s) not something you want to do because—when it comes down to March—(that’s) when you lay it all out on the table. We had a few things we were ready to start showcasing. We didn’t want to show our hand too early in the year against everybody. We were ready to leave it all on the table.”

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