SUMMERSIDE – A February tradition at Three Oaks Senior High School will continue this weekend.
The annual Sweetheart basketball tournament, featuring eight senior AAA-calibre girls’ teams from across the Maritimes, will begin play in the two-day tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. Play resumes Saturday at 9 a.m., with the championship game scheduled for Three Oaks at 3 p.m.
“The tournament is very important to the school,” said James Voye, head coach of the host Axewomen. “It’s late in the year and it gives the students a chance to come out and cheer on the girls.
“The girls are excited about it this year because last year it was cancelled because of the weather. We are really hoping the weather will cooperate this year, and the away teams will get over (to P.E.I.).”
The Axewomen, Colonel Gray Colonels, Charlottetown Rural Raiders and Bluefield Bobcats are the four P.E.I. teams entered. Amherst, North Nova, James M. Hill and Miramichi Valley are the off-Island entries.
“We have a strong field,” said Voye. “We met North Nova in the final of the Bluefield tournament, which we won.
“We know they are a very strong team, and teams from Amherst and the two teams from Miramichi are always going to battle you.”
It’s a year of transition for the Axewomen, who have won back-to-back P.E.I. School Athletic Association (PEISAA) senior AAA provincial championships. Three Oaks lost six players from last year’s team to graduation.
“Losing six is not an easy turnaround for any team,” said Voye. “We picked up a good player in Taylor McAulay from the AA girls last year, and we added some good Grade 10s from SIS (Summerside Intermediate School) and Athena.
“The girls that we have back from last year are working very hard.”
This year’s edition of the Axewomen is made up of four Grade 12s, four Grade 11s and three Grade 10s.
The Axewomen hold a 5-1 (won-lost) record in PEISAA league play, with their only loss coming to Colonel Gray.
“Colonel Gray definitely looks really strong,” said Voye. “They kind of look more like we did last year – run and gun, quick.
“The other three teams in the top four are a little closer as far as skill set goes. It will be a real battle between the two, three and four teams to see who gets to the (provincial) final.”
Three Oaks Axewomen roster:
Friday’s Sweetheart basketball tournament schedule:
5 p.m. – James M. Hill vs. Charlottetown Rural (Three Oaks); Amherst vs. Bluefield (Athena Consolidated School).
7 p.m. – North Nova vs. Three Oaks (Three Oaks); Miramichi Valley vs. Colonel Gray (Athena).
Note: Saturday’s schedule, which will feature games at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., will be determined by the results of Friday’s games.